Transformative Change and Real Utopias in Early Childhood Education: A story of democracy, experimentation and potentiality, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Transformative Change and Real Utopias in Early Childhood Education

A story of democracy, experimentation and potentiality, 1st Edition

By Peter Moss


232 pages | 37 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415656016
pub: 2014-04-16
Hardback: 9780415656009
pub: 2014-04-22
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315779904
pub: 2014-04-24
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Early childhood education and care is a major policy issue for national governments and international organisations. This book contests two stories, both infused by neoliberal thinking, that dominate early childhood policy making today - ‘the story of quality and high returns’ and ‘the story of markets’,  stories that promise high returns on investment if only the right technologies are applied to children and the perfection of a system based on competition and individual choice. 

But there are alternative stories and this book tells one: a ‘story of democracy, experimentation and potentiality’ in which early childhood centres are public spaces and public resources, places where democracy and experimentation are fundamental values, community workshops for realising the potentiality of citizens. This story calls for transformative change but offers a real utopia, both viable and achievable. The book discusses some of the conditions needed for the story’s enactment and shows what it means in practice in a chapter about project work contributed by a Swedish preschool teacher.  

Critical but hopeful, this book is an important contribution to resisting the dictatorship of no alternative and renewing a democratic politics of early childhood education. It is essential reading for students and teachers, researchers and other academics, and for all other concerned citizens.


"This text is a necessary one for early childhood educators and researchers, as well as readers seeking to develop contemporary,contextual critiques of the very narratives Moss delineates." - Ansgar Allen, Pedagogy, Culture and Society

"If you read this with an open mind, the hope, wonder and realisation that it could actually be achieved creeps in and makes your heart beat a little faster with the excitement and hope in it!" - Early Years Educator Magazine

Table of Contents

1. The dictatorship of no alternative: the emergent global model of early childhood education 2. Democratic experimentalism: values and practices 3. Sustaining democratic experimentalism 4. The turn to democratic experimentation: why now?

About the Author

Peter Moss is Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood Provision at the Institute of Education University of London, UK.

About the Series

Contesting Early Childhood

This groundbreaking new series questions the current dominant discourses surrounding early childhood, and offers instead alternative narratives of an area that is now made up of a multitude of perspectives and debates.

The series examines the possibilities and risks arising from the accelerated development of early childhood services and policies, and illustrates how it has become increasingly steeped in regulation and control. Insightfully, this collection of books shows how early childhood services can in fact contribute to ethical and democratic practices. The authors explore new ideas taken from alternative working practices in both the western and developing world, and from other academic disciplines such as developmental psychology. Current theories and best practice are placed in relation to the major processes of political, social, economic, cultural and technological change occurring in the world today.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Preschool & Kindergarten
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General