The Routledge Handbook of Philosophies and Theories of Early Childhood Education and Care brings together leading writers in the field to provide a much-needed, authoritative guide to the major philosophies and theories which have shaped approaches to Early Childhood Education and Care.

Providing a detailed overview of key concepts, debates and practical challenges, the handbook combines theoretical acumen with specific examples to show how philosophies and theories have evolved over the centuries and their impact on policy and society. It examines the ways in which societies define and make sense of childhood and the factors that influence the development of philosophies about young children and their learning.

The collection offers an insight into the key theorists and considers how the economics and politics of their time and personal ideology influenced their ideas about childhood. It looks at curricula and provision which have proved inspirational and how these have impacted on policy and practice in different parts of the world. The handbook also explores alternative and perhaps less familiar philosophies and ideas about babies and young children, their place in society and the ways in which it might be appropriate to educate them

Bringing together specially commissioned pieces by a range of international authors, this handbook will enable academics, research students, practitioners and policy-makers to reflect on their own understandings and approaches, as well as the assumptions made in their own and other societies.

chapter |8 pages


Challenging ideas

part |48 pages

Philosophers and their philosophies of early childhood education and care

chapter |7 pages

Friedrich Froebel

chapter |11 pages

Maria Montessori

chapter |12 pages

Rachel and Margaret McMillan

Practice and politics

chapter |8 pages

John Dewey

part |119 pages

Theorists and their theories

chapter |10 pages

The long view

Evolutionary theories of early childhood education and care

chapter |9 pages

Exploring young minds

chapter |10 pages

Theories of language development

chapter |9 pages

Theory of mind

chapter |8 pages

Postmodernist theorizing in ECEC

Making the familiar strange in pursuit of social justice

chapter |11 pages

Dialogic space theory

part |81 pages

Influences of philosophies and theories on research, policy and practice

chapter |11 pages

Positivist scientific exploration

Can universal truths and grand narratives be discovered in research about human beings?

chapter |15 pages

Narrative inquiry in early childhood education

Pursuing the promise

chapter |11 pages

Reflection on one's practice

Research about theories espoused by practitioners – the grand and the personal

part |70 pages

Inspirations: philosophies and theories in action

chapter |9 pages


Perspectives from South America

chapter |11 pages

Te Whāriki

A uniquely woven curriculum shaping policy, pedagogy and practice in Aotearoa New Zealand

chapter |4 pages