Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

pp 1-7

Date: Latest Version

Bildung: Potential and Promise in Early Childhood Education

  • E. E. ØdegaardAffiliated withBergen University College Email author 
  • , E. J. WhiteAffiliated withUniversity of Waikato


Education; becoming; formation


Today increasingly pluralistic and heterogonous societies, as well as a growing awareness of children as inheritors of the earth, challenge the understanding of which pedagogical and curricular frameworks in early childhood education best meet children's interests. Experiences in the ‘here-and-now’ and those that are anticipated for future generations stimulate the need for new (and perhaps a return to ‘old’) negotiations about the content and purpose of education. As our title suggests, the German concept of bildung holds great potential for early childhood education today when contemplated as a serious part of these negotiations. Indeed, bildung (and its various associated contemporary cultural meanings across Nordic and Australasian ECE communities) promises to resurrect attention towards the ‘good life’ for young learners in curriculum.

This entry will first summon notions of bildung from its European Greek and German origins before ...

This is an excerpt from the content