Raising the House of Rousseau: Historical Consciousness in the Contemporary ECE Teacher Education Classroom

Carolyn Bjartveit, Euthalia Lisa Panayotidis


In an on-line graduate class, Current Issues in Early Childhood Education, we raised the specter of Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) as a way to re-image criticalhistorical and socio-cultural notions of childhood and child care in westerncurricular traditions and inheritances. Inviting Rousseau to discuss his treatise Emile or On Education (1979) within atechnological platform complicated the origins of modern child discourses andshowed how such concepts are not fixed and eternal but rather located, interpreted, contingent, and always partial (Caputo, 1987). Raising Rousseau allowed students to reflect on the significance of historical consciousness andinquiry as an approach to the interpretive study of curriculum while critiquing western traditional ideas on early childhood education. Against the backgroundof contemporary concerns around curriculum and praxis we envision are-awakening and stronger focus on the history of childhood and early childhood education both theoretically and pedagogically.


Early childhood education; curriculum; historical thinking; Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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