Peter Moss

Emeritus Professor Peter Moss vid UCL Institute of Education, University College London.

The future is in the preschool – but what future for the preschool in troubled times?

I will start by highlighting and celebrating the achievements of the Swedish early childhood system and its network of preschools, drawing a comparison with England, which (like most other countries) has failed to create a universal, integrated and public system of early childhood education open to all children and which is under the influence of bankrupt discourses, what I have termed the ‘story of quality and high returns’ and ‘the story of markets’.

Yet at the same time, it is important to acknowledge that the Swedish system (as part of the Swedish welfare state) does have problems and faces challenges as the times get more uncertain, troubled and dangerous. I shall propose what seem to me to be some of the most important and pressing of these challenges, and then ask how early childhood systems might respond to them. In doing so, I will argue that education is first and foremost a political and ethical practice, not a technical practice, and confronts us with political and ethical questions and choices.

These questions include: What is the diagnosis of our times? What do we want for our children and our societies? What is our image of the child, the teacher and the preschool? What is the purpose of early childhood education? What are the fundamental values of education? And what ethics should we adopt? I shall offer some provisional and partial answers to these questions, including the image of the preschool as a public space, a place of encounter for all citizens, and a community workshop capable of many projects.


Frågor till deltagaren:

  • What do you value about the Swedish preschool system?
  • What is your diagnosis of our times?
  • What changes do you think may be needed in the Swedish preschool system in response to your diagnosis?

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