Reconsidering early childhood curriculum leadership in light of reconceptualization

Moving beyond DAP technologies


  • Daniel J. Castner Indiana University Bloomington


Curriculum practice is an important way early childhood educators attend to the ethical and political responsibilities inherent to their work. Unfortunately, early childhood curriculum is perennially undertheorized. Analyzing decades of trends in early childhood curriculum, this article argues that notions of developmental appropriateness have subtly, and perhaps inadvertently, perpetuated restrictive technical-scientific conceptions of curriculum. Then, historical, philosophical, and political alternatives to technical-scientific instrumentality, which were identified by Shirley Kessler in the early 1990s, are revisited. Recognizing the persistence of technocratic conceptions of early childhood curriculum in spite of decades of reconceptualization and the multi-faceted crises of our contemporary situation, practical eclecticism is advanced to envision a powerful future for early childhood curriculum leadership.