children playing

Danish early childhood education and care

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Koch, A. B. & Jorgensen, H. H.
Publication Date: 
1 Jul 2023


This special issue presents a selection of current research on Danish early childhood education and care (ECEC) aimed at an international audience. The Nordic tradition of child-centred, local and holistic pedagogy is dominant within the Danish educational culture, but the Danish pedagogical approach is the focus of an ongoing dialogue involving political preoccupations with ECEC quality and what is best for the children’s development and learning. Since 2004, Danish ECEC settings have been obliged to work on children’s learning based on a pedagogical curriculum organised around six previously established themes prepared at each local ECEC centre according to specific guidelines. In 2018, a more detailed description of the content of the curriculum and a common pedagogical foundation was introduced in a strengthened curriculum – partly because the previous curriculum led institutions too far away from the existing pedagogical culture. The strengthened curriculum points to key elements such as play, child-centredness, communities of children and a broad concept of learning – to constitute the understanding and approach to work on children’s well-being, learning, development and formation in ECEC. New research from Danish professionals is presented, revolving around key areas in the strengthened curriculum in order to invite further dialogue with international colleagues about children’s play, fun and well-being, quality cultures, children’s communities, transitions, aesthetics and vulnerability.