The article discusses the main opportunities and challenges facing early childhood education , indeed all education, today: how to respond to the new conditions of the times and how to contribute to the future. It asks several questions. What are the new conditions of the times? What future to anticipate and prepare for? Does (quoting Loris Malaguzzi) to ‘prepare the days of tomorrow’ mean education readying children and young people for a future that is predetermined and inevitable; or does it mean education enabling children, young people and, indeed, adults to exert some influence over what that future might be, through the exercise of critical thinking and democratic decision? As well as discussing what we might want education to do, the article concludes by considering how to enable this to happen – the political must be complemented by the technical. Which means, in the first place, creating the right sort of system, with one possibility outlined.