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Keywords:

  • narrative identity;
  • just institutions;
  • early childhood education;
  • Paul Ricoeur

Abstract

An intensification of interest in early childhood by government, parents, and employers, focuses primarily on the provision of private early childhood education services outside of the home. With a focus on New Zealand, the paper argues that the form of early education now promoted is a particular form of care and education that moves children away from family and community narratives embedded in the historical, cultural and humanist intentions of the national curriculum Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996). It argues that current early childhood policy directions, largely driven by global economic agendas, pay scant regard to the lived experiences of children and families. Working with Ricoeur's narrative identity, Ricoeur's ‘capable subject’ is considered in order to examine the emerging purposes and aims of early childhood education, with a particular focus on just institutions for children and families.