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Democratic experimentation in early childhood education

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In G. Biesta, M. De Bie, & D. Wildemeersch (Eds.), Civic learning, democratic citizenship and the public sphere (pp. 151–165).
Vandenbroeck, Michel & Peeters, Jan
Book / booklet
Publication Date: 
7 Oct 2014


There is a large consensus on the beneficial effects of early childhood care and education, especially for children from lower socio-economic backgrounds, as well as on the crucial role of professional qualifications. However, this consensus also leaves many crucial educational issues undiscussed and may therefore mask areas of profound dissensus. We argue how the apparent consensus

instrumentalises children, parents and professionals. We also argue how dissensus may be essential for democratic experimentation and consequently, why the consensus may be anti-democratic. In contrast, we analyse some of the experiences with professionalisation of the workforce in the city of Ghent in previous decades, as examples that may be illustrative of other pathways to professionalisation, leaving more space for debate and reflection.