Other countries

Contesting neoliberalism in global early childhood education

Online event
Event date: 
21 Jun 2021 - 7:00am

Situated in a powerful policy discourse of neoliberalism, early childhood education (ECE) is increasingly politicised across countries as an arena for promoting state economic gains through providing young children with the foundations for future opportunities and lifelong learning. A global discourse of governance and control therefore emerges in ECE policies, aimed at ensuring the ‘effectiveness’ and socio-economic returns of ECE provisions in which governments invest.

In those policies, accountability is emphasised through inspections and assessments oriented by quality standards and child outcomes. Such accountability measurements further lead to the comparison among ECE systems internationally, especially as pushed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) initiatives, reports, and studies. Whilst comparisons between ECE systems provide alternative and/or various practices and possibilities to achieve high-quality ECE, the attempts to define international quality standards and indicators despite the contexts remain controversial.

In this research seminar, we invite international scholars from the global north and south to illuminate how neoliberalism manifests and shapes ECE in different social, cultural and political contexts. Reflecting on its hegemony, our speakers explore possibilities for resisting, refusing, and contesting neoliberalism in post-pandemic contexts of ECE. The following questions will be discussed in this seminar:

1. How does neoliberalism manifest and shape ECE in different contexts across the globe?

2. What are the challenges that ECE faces under the regime of neoliberalism in various societies?

3. What opportunities are possible in a post COVID-19 era to contest neoliberalism for social justice and equity in global ECE?

Speakers: (Alphabetical order)

Dr Vina Adriany, Head, Centre for Gender and Childhood Studies, Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Indonesia;

Professor Michael A. Peters, Distinguished Professor, Beijing Normal University, China;

Dr Guy Roberts-Holmes, Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education, UCL Institute of Education, UK;

Chair: Dr Yuwei Xu, Research Fellow, Centre for Teacher and Early Years Education, UCL Institute of Education

Seminar overview:

5 min Introduction

20 min Presentation of each speaker (incl. 2-3min Q&A if needed)

20 min Panel discussion and Q&A

5 min Conclusion (One key take-home message from each speaker)


Centre for Teacher and Early Years Education, UCL Institute of Education, UK; Institute of Child Development and Family Education, Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University, China.

Contact name: 
UCL Centre for Teacher and Early Years Education
Contact email: 
Contact phone: 

Feminism, gender justice and resistance in early childhood education

Online, Estern Daylight Time
Event date: 
26 May 2021 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

About this event

In this webinar event, Feminism, Gender Justice and Resistance in Early Childhood Education, our panelists will address gender issues in Early Childhood Education and feminist theories and solutions that situate such issues.

Drawing on a range of feminisms, the panelists will explore rethinking gender binaries in relation to emerging and persistent transgender identities, intersectionality and power of BIPOC collectives, feminist tales of teaching and resistance in Reggio Emilia, Italy and rewriting gender into European early childhood philosophies.

The conversation with Alexandra Gunn, An Intersectional/ity Collective, Beatrice Vittoria Balfour and Jayne Osgood will be moderated by Rachel Langford and Janice Kroeger and will include a Q & A conversation amongst panelists at the end of the 90-minute panel. A 30-minute informal “salon” conversation session with the audience will follow the formal program.


Alexandra C. Gunn (Alex)

Dr. Alexandra C. Gunn (Alex) is a former early childhood teacher who teaches and researches at the University of Otago in Dunedin | Ōtepoti, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Gunn is a founding member of the Social Justice and Inclusive Educational Research Network, a member of European Early Childhood Education Research Association, and other national and international organizations.

An Intersectional/ity Collective

This intersectional/ity collective is made up of early childhood scholars from across the globe that represent a range of positionalities. The essence of the collective is to disrupt individualism, hierarchies, and identity silos. Through aesthetic, multimodal expressions and theory interludes, the collective attempts to capture the brilliance of Black feminist intersectionalities (Crenshaw, 1989) in addition to Patricia Hill Collin’s (2017) call for “political solidarity among people of color” (47:40-42). As intersectional beings, they share their lived experiences in relation to each-other, the Land, and spirit, providing windows into how they’ve waded through systemic and everyday oppressions of colonial, anti-Black, and gendered violence, white supremacy, and being constructed by others’ attempts at putting our-selves into boxes. They also share the joys, strengths, solidarities, and wisdoms that emanate from their intersectional ways of knowing and being. Throughout their presentations and in their ongoing wanderings, they offer provocations for (re)imagining childhoods intersectionally.

Beatrice Vittoria Balfour

Dr. Beatrice Vittoria Balfour is a school leader, teacher and researcher with a passion for social justice. Holding dual-citizenship, Beatrice grew up in Italy and went to the U.S. to attend U.C. Berkeley and teach at a local school. Beatrice’s passion for progressive pedagogies and social justice, particularly her interest in how education can be as equal as possible, led her to obtain a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Cambridge.

Jayne Osgood

Dr Jayne Osgood is Professor of Education (Early Years & Gender) based at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University, London (UK). Her present methodologies and research practices are framed by feminist new materialism. Through her work she seeks to foreground a concern with social justice through critical engagements with early childhood policy, curricular frameworks and pedagogical approaches. Through her work she seeks to extend understandings of the workforce, families, ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’ in early years contexts.

Rachel Langford, Co-Moderator

Dr. Rachel Langford is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University, Ontario, Canada. From 2006 to 2016 she served as the director of the School. Her books include Caring for children: social movements and public policy in Canada (co-editor, UBC Press) and Theorizing feminist ethics of care in early childhood practice: Possibilities and dangers (editor, Bloomsbury Academic Press). An upcoming book (co-editor, Bloomsbury Academic Press) focuses on how feminist theories can provide new insights into the work, lived experiences and agency of early childhood educators in diverse contexts.

Janice Kroeger, Co-Moderator

Dr. Janice Kroeger has published numerous articles and book and handbook chapters about childhood education, social-emotional belonging in communities, teacher education, anti-bias curriculum, lgbtqi inclusion, and sustainable futures. Kroeger’s noteworthy publications relate to social justice and home-school-community partnerships, with numerous pieces related to the needs of lgbtqi parents or students, African American mothers and sons, and refugee Hmong American families and their student’s teachers.

The 90-minute program includes time for moderated discussion and an audience Q & A. Additionally, a 30-minute informal “salon” conversation session with the audience will follow the formal program.

REGISTER for the webinar HERE