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Professor Mathias Urban on holistic approaches to EC education

Date / Time: 7-8 November 2016

Professor Mathias Urban recently spoke at two events while at the University of Waikato. He was a guest of the Early Years Research Centre at the Wilf Malcom Institute of Educational Research.

Professor Urban is a Professor of Early Childhood and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre at the Froebel College, University of Roehampton, London. He works on questions of diversity and equality, social justice, evaluation and professionalism in working with young children, families and communities in diverse socio-cultural contexts.

Open lecture: Froebel and the World Bank. Challenges and possibilities for holistic approaches to practice and policy in a globalised early childhood context

Drawing on own recent and ongoing research in international contexts, Professor Mathias undertook a critical exploration of the relevance of Froebelian philosophy and principles in the context of inter-national early childhood policy developments. He argued that Froebelian principles of rights-based and holistic pedagogy, education as public good, professionalism, and interconnect-edness (spirituality, nature) are as radical today as they were at their inception – and that they can provide a powerful way to bridge the (perceived or real) paradigmatic divide between early childhood policy, theory and practice under globalised conditions.

Watch video of this lecture

Seminar: Critical early childhood research today

Early childhood professional practice is systemic and relational, profoundly political, and inevitably uncertain. Starting from these premises that have informed Professor Urban’s work from the very beginning, and drawing on international research conducted at the Early Childhood Research Centre (University of Roehampton, London, UK), Professor Urban  initiated a conversation about the situation critical early childhood research finds itself in today. In order to distinguish and distance ourselves from the certainties and seemingly unquestionable truths of post-political, mainstream, ‘normalised’ research and its entanglement with neoliberal agendas and corporate interests, Professor Urban asked if we rendered ourselves irrelevant in the struggle for social justice that once formed the basis for critical inquiry in our field? What hope can there be for us to (re-)claim the political in our research, and what new (and old) alliances can we count on in order to build competent systems, a democratic profession, and achieve more just and equitable outcomes for all children and families?

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