Children’s Development: Between Personal Engagements and Curriculum-Based Preschool Practices

  • Jakob Waag VilladsenEmail author
Part of the Cultural Psychology of Education book series (CPED, volume 10)


During the last decades, Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) has received increasing local and global attention as a period and means to enhance in particular students’ academic learning. As such, ECEC has become part of the global investment in learning, and the global competition on knowledge. This renewed attention has in effect led ECECs to redirect their practices in an attempt to align with the overall political goals. This is particularly visible in the application of evidence-based educational methods and programs, which promise certain desirable learning outcomes. Implicitly, State policy goals are expected to operate as developmental goals of the single child or group of children. In this chapter, the question of evidence is investigated by focusing on the developmental implications of the political and practical efforts on the children living in the ECEC arrangements. Children’s development is approached through the concepts of personal engagement and life concerns with and in the world. Foundational to this approach is that developmental processes do not occur bypassing the developing person and his/her sociocultural life. Thus, the perspective emphasises the dynamic relation between the personal and collective level of culture as an inseparable analytical unit, while conceptualising development as a personal mode of being in this relation. Based on an empirical analysis of Danish children´s life in ECEC, it is argued that the current credo of evidence should reconsider its focus by building methodologies (rather than methods), which are sensitive to the cultural dynamics which constitutes the units in children´s construction of a cultural life course.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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