In the 21st century, the legacies of age-old romantic traditions that couple innocent children and pure nature (Rousseau, 1762/2003) and last-century normative theorizings about individual child development (Bredekamp, 1986) still hold traction in early childhood education. Indeed, it seems that in the increasingly competitive neoliberal educational environment, the primacy of individual child development has been intensified by standardized benchmarking practices and increased pressures for individual achievement. At the same time, growing sections of the community are reacting to this competitive environment by making nostalgic reference to the “good old days” when children were able to play outside “in nature.” They are expressing concern about the loss of childhood innocence and the disengagement of 21st-century digi-kids from the natural world (Louv, 2008; Childhood and Nature Network, n.d.). It is in the face of this conundrum of competitive and future-oriented as well as retrospective and protectionist early childhood education imaginaries, which seem so paradoxically at odds, that reconceptualists continue to challenge outdated normative assumptions about individual child development, as well as challenging the notion of the naturally innocent child that needs reuniting with nature.
|Title of host publication||Reconceptualizing early childhood care and education|
|Subtitle of host publication||Critical questions, new imaginaries and social activism|
|Editors||Marianne Bloch, Beth Blue Swadener, Gaile Cannella|
|Place of Publication||New York, USA|
|Publisher||Peter Lang Publishing|
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|