1st Edition

Supporting Early Childhood Practice Through Difficult Times Looking Towards a Better Future

Edited By Ute Ward Copyright 2025
    292 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    292 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Supporting Early Childhood Practice Through Difficult Times encourages early years students and practitioners to take stock of current practices and pedagogies in the light of challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic, ecological concerns, and regulatory pressures.

    The contributions from various scholars and practitioners present a range of theoretical concepts as well as innovative practice examples, inviting deep reflection on your own beliefs and attitudes. They examine and envisage different ways of working with and for young children, their families and communities for a better future. Chapters in this timely book include experts from around the globe examining key issues in early childhood education. The first section questions the increasing digitalisation in nurseries and pre-schools and its impact on staff members, parents and children. The second section focuses on workforce development, management systems and the role of parents in policymaking. The third section showcases innovative pedagogical approaches looking beyond widely accepted early learning goals, assessments and curricula to develop inclusive environments that foster all children’s development and learning. Lastly, the fourth section steps back from day-to-day practice and considers what concern for the environment, social justice and posthumanism means for early childhood education and pedagogy.

    This book will be a key resource for early childhood education and care practitioners, graduate students, policy makers and researchers facilitating the step from the here-and-now to revised future practice and policy that will enable all children to flourish.

    1. Early Childhood Practice in Difficult Times   
    Ute Ward

    Part I: The Impact of Digitalisation

    2. The Mixed Blessing of Digital Tools 
    Ute Ward

    3. Big sister' is watching: a feminist critical discourse analysis of texts supporting the use of live stream video feed technology in licensed childcare programs in Ontario and Alberta, Canada
    Brooke Richardson and Joanne Lehrer

    4. Using the European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators to develop didactic Tools on AI for Early Childhood Settings     
    Ulrike Stadler-Altmann

    5. Narratives of Crisis: raising children in digital times   
    Naomi Hodgson & Stefan Ramaekers

    Part II: Early Childhood Workforce and Management Issues

    6. Enhancing the Development of Practitioners and Settings       
    Ute Ward

    7. Professional development of Croation EC teachers in a virtual world - opportunity or obstacle?
    Adrijana Višnjić-Jevtić & Antonija Vukašinović

    8. Impacts of neoliberal inspired policies on educators’ professional identity in five countries: Visions for a better future        
    Marg Rogers, Fabio Dovigo, Laura Doan, Khatuna Dolidze and Astrid Mus Rasmussen

    9. Fostering practice-based philosophy in early years professionals         
    Lewis Stockwell and Michael Young

    10. The LEYF Model: A sustainable ECEC model that addresses the disadvantage gap          
    June O'Sullivan 

    11. Seeking and listening to families in updating Australia's Approved learning frameworks     
    Fay Hadley, Linda Harrison, Leanne Lavina, Lennie Barblett, Susan Irvine, Francis Bobongie-Harris, and Jennifer Cartmel

    Part III: Alternative Pedagogies and Practices           

    12. Embracing Diversity and Inclusion  
    Ute Ward

    13. The quiddity of inclusion: Knowing what matters in early childhood  
    Sharon Skehill

    14. Increasing inclusivity through embedding art in daily practice           
    Silvia Blanch-Gelabert & Gemma Paris-Romain

    15. Imagination: the missing element in ECE?   
    Sue Nimmo

    16. Education at the crossfire: a human right approach to support children with disabilities in disasters
    Mabel Giraldo

    17. Children reading to their parents - From Australia to Israel - Implementation and Challenges
    Sigal Tish, Sivon Shatil Carmon and Clodie Tal

    Part IV: More than education and care: Philosophical Perspectives on Early Childhood Practice

    18. The need for different ways of thinking        
    Ute Ward

    19. Learning in and from nature: Supporting Children's Development     
    Mehmet Mart

    20. A Posthuman Perspective: Learning Entanglements Among a Child, Family Members, and the Material World
    Sally Brown

    21. The Concept of Dialogue: bell hooks, Paulo Freire, and the English Early Years Sector
    Poppie Ephgrave

    22. Nurturing the spiritual in children - enacting a spiritual pedagogy to develop children's sense of self 
    Liz Rouse

    23. Towards a better future       
    Ute Ward


    Ute Ward is a former Senior Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

    "This fascinating collaboration of national and international perspectives on some extremely topical subjects is going to be a great addition to the literature to support those working in the Early Years sector as well as students studying early childhood.  The authors have all shared their research, practice ideas and innovative ways of working which will undoubtedly enable reflection and thought for anyone engaging in the texts.  Practitioners within the Early Years sector reading this book are invited to open their minds to a range of both national and international perspectives which will both challenge and influence their practice with young children.  With such a vast range of subjects this book would be a great addition for any EY student.  The gentle introductory chapters at the start of each section carefully sets the context for the reader to know what to expect, making this a great text for dipping into or (as I did) read in its entirety."

    Joanne BenfordProgramme Leader for Undergraduate Programmes, Pen Green Centre for Children & Families, UK

    “This book has an urgent and interesting content for both practitioners, students, and researchers within Early Childhood Education (ECE). The book outlines the current state of ECE in relation to the challenges and possibilities that our world and society are facing. I especially agree with the overall question about how ECE can make a difference in children’s life. But this book also helps me to see ECE as a part of everyone´s life – not only the children´s life.”

    Charlotte ÖhmanUniversity Lecturer and PhD student, Jönköping University, Sweden