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Towards democratic culture and political practice in early childhood education: The case for transformative change at a time of converging crisis

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Sousa, D. & Moss, P.
Publication Date: 
27 Nov 2023


The paper argues the case for choosing a democratic culture for education in general and early childhood education in particular. It locates its discussion, and the case made for democratic culture, in a current context of converging existential crises and the ending of the neoliberal hegemony, making transformative change, though difficult, both urgent and possible. The concept of ‘democratic culture’ is elaborated and its importance for the production of meaning and for enabling a turn from technical to political thinking and practice emphasised. Some possible consequences of choosing a democratic culture for early childhood education are considered, in terms of the  political choices that may be made with respect to the purposes of education, pedagogy and the image of schools, teachers and children. The article ends by considering possible processes of transformative change for early childhood education, providing examples of local projects that have evolved towards a democratic culture.