Early Childhood Education in the United States is rife with contradictions, critique and innovation. It is a time when a status quo – characterized by systemic, historic discrimination; teacher de-professionalization; 'teaching to the test'; and attacks on funding – is challenged by new technologies, new literacies and transformative and critical perspectives and practices that defy assumptions and biases to create cutting-edge, diverse instantiations of Early Childhood Education for children, families, and teachers.
This volume, based on a special issue of the Early Years journal written in 2016 before the new administration announced its policies, aims to generate conversations about developments in Early Childhood Education, situated within classist/racist/linguicist and neoliberal contexts, and to analyze critically where we are, where we might go and what we might do. It is also an opportunity to share counter-narratives to the dominant narratives promulgated by many, convinced that narrow, destructive norms of appropriate practice, standards, and accountability, as well as the curtailed achievement of children of Color, those from low income communities, and emergent bilinguals are ‘common sense’.
These counter-narratives – some about transformational projects that have generated innovative perspectives and practices, and some detailing critical analyses and projects that go beyond to explore issues of power – contest education that disprivileges some children and families while advocating education that is child- and family-centered, culturally relevant and sustaining, equitable and democratic. Our hope is that this work creates a 'space of dialogue and human action' needed even more urgently today.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Early Years journal.