© 2015

The Development of Early Childhood Education in Europe and North America

Historical and Comparative Perspectives

  • Harry Willekens
  • Kirsten Scheiwe
  • Kristen Nawrotzki

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Introduction: The Longue Durée — Early Childhood Institutions and Ideas in Flux

    1. Harry Willekens, Kirsten Scheiwe, Kristen Nawrotzki
      Pages 1-28
  3. ECE(C) Developments in the Long Term

  4. Actors and Critical Junctures in the Development of ECE(C)

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 309-312

About this book


The public provision of early childhood education has developed at different rates across individual countries over the past two centuries. This book provides the historical background to explain how these national differences occurred, with particular reference to welfare and educational systems, to highlight how particular influences grew.


Early childhood education comparative history of early childhood education preschools nursery school day care centers kindergarten public child care infant schools institutional change State-Church conflicts over education Catholicism and early childhood education women's movement and early childhood education legal regulation of early childhood education professional training of early childhood educators early childhood education and welfare policies Europe European Union USA Canada England childhood childhood education children education educational system France history poverty school Spain

Editors and affiliations

  • Harry Willekens
    • 1
  • Kirsten Scheiwe
    • 1
  • Kristen Nawrotzki
    • 2
  1. 1.University of HildesheimGermany
  2. 2.University of HeidelbergGermany

About the editors

Meike Sophia Baader, University of Hildesheim, Germany Chiara Bertone, University of East Piedmont, Italy Eva-Maria Hohnerlein, Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Germany Michael-Sebastian Honig, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg Franz-Michael Konrad, University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany Arnlaug Leira, University of Oslo, Norway Jean-Noël Luc, University of Paris, France Sonya Michel, University of Maryland, USA Kristen Nawrotzki, University of Education, Germany Pamela Oberhuemer, State Institute of Early Childhood Research, Germany Larry Prochner, University of Alberta, Canada Carmen Sanchidrián, University of Málaga, Spain Kirsten Scheiwe, University of Hildesheim, Germany Anett Schmitz, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg Harry Willekens, University of Hildesheim, Germany Martine Wiltzius, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Bibliographic information


“The volume offers a panoramic view of a complex process, showing a variety of economic, social, pedagogical and sanitary goals, revealing the political tensions and struggles that took part in the reconfiguration of public and private spaces and jurisdictions towards the construction of national states.” (Beatriz Alcubierre Moya, Paedagogica Historica, April 30, 2019)

“Each chapter stands out as a helpful introduction to a particular topic in ECE and public child care, and an introductory chapter creates links between most of them. … It makes a major contribution both to the history of ECE and to the public understanding of social projects as integral instruments of social change. Moreover, it is a rich compendium of ideas that bring us a valuable synthesis of questions that have long required attention but remained untouched … .” (Yordanka Valkanova, History of Education, Vol. 46 (3), 2017)