Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

Living Edition
| Editors: Michael A. Peters

Bildung: Potential and Promise in Early Childhood Education

  • E. E. ØdegaardEmail author
  • E. J. White
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_57-1



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...


Early Childhood Education Democratic Citizen Educational Discourse Contemporary Education Australian Government Department 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Australian Government Department of Education, Employment & Workplace. (2009). Belonging, being and becoming: The early years framework for Australia. Retrieved http://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/belonging_being_and_becoming_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australian.pdf
  2. Bakhtin, M. (2012). The dialogic imagination (Ed.: Holquist, M.; trans: Emerson, C., & Holquist, M.). Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  3. Biesta, G. (2003). How general can bildung be? Reflections on the future of a modern educational ideal. In L. Løvlie, K. P. Mortensen, & S. E. Nordenbo (Eds.), Educating humanity – Bildung in postmodernity (pp. 61–75). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Brandist, C. (2016). Bakhtinian bildung and the educational process: Some historical considerations. Educational Philosophy & Theory, DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2015.1135411.Google Scholar
  5. Brostrom, S. (2013). Understanding Te Whāriki from a Danish perspective. In J. Nuttall (Ed.), Weaving Te Whāriki: Aotearoa New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum document in theory and practice (pp. 239–257). Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  6. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education. New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  7. Kosseleck, R. (2007). Dannelsens antropologiske og semantiske struktur. Slagmark, 48(3), 11–48.Google Scholar
  8. Løvlie, L. (2003). The promise of bildung. In L. Løvlie, K. P. Mortensen, & S. E. Nordenbo (Eds.), Educating humanity. Bildung in postmodernity (pp. 151–170). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  9. Lyotard, J. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge (p. 5). United Kingdom: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whaariki: He Whaariki Maatauranga mo nga mokopuna o Aotearoa, Early childhood curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.Google Scholar
  11. Ministry of Education and Research. (2011[2012]). Framework for the content and tasks of kindergartens. Uploaded 070815 http://www.udir.no/globalassets/upload/barnehage/rammeplan/framework_plan_for_the_content_and_tasks_of_kindergartens_2011_rammeplan_engelsk.pdf
  12. Sumsion, J., & Wong, S. (2011). Interrogating ‘belonging’ in belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 12(1), 28–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Walker, R. (2008). The philosophy of Te Whatu Pokeka: Kaupapa Maori assessment and learning exemplars. The First Years: Nga Tau Tuatahi. New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education, 10(2), 5–10.Google Scholar
  14. White, J. E. (2013). Circles, borders, and chronotope: Education at the boundary. Knowledge Culture, 1(2), 145–169.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bergen University CollegeBergenNorway
  2. 2.University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand