Michel Vandenbroeck

The curriculum as an expression of society

Il curricolo come espressione della società più ampia

A curriculum for early childhood care and education (ECCE) is first of all a social construction. When comparing different national curricula in Europe and beyond, it is obvious that there is no consensus on what a curriculum is or should be. That is not surprising, as a curriculum always reflects what ECCE is for (what are the societal goals of ECCE?); how one looks at children, how one considers the role of parents and professionals, how one thinks learning takes place; what care is about, …

We illustrate this by a concise overview of some choices that have been made in the elaboration of a recent curriculum in the Flemish community of Belgium. The curriculum starts from basic principles including the rights of citizens in the Belgian Constitution and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It assumes that ECEC has a clear function towards children, towards families and towards society as a whole.

We will also go into some fields of tension in mainstream curricula that illustrate the necessity to take a stand and position oneself. In conclusion, we discuss some future challenges about the democratic aspect of curricula in increasingly diverse societies.


Michel Vandenbroeck

is professor in family pedagogy and Head of the Department of Social Work and Social pedagogy at Ghent University in Flanders. His main field of work is Early Childhood Education, Parent support and Family Policies, with a special interest in processes of in- and exclusion and issues of diversity.

Together with Prof. Ferre Laevers (Louvain University) he currently supervises a research for the Flemish Government consisting in elaborating a curriculum for child care, an assessment of the quality of the Flemish child care system and the design of instruments for the monitoring of the provision.

Michel Vandenbroeck è Docente di Pedagogia della Famiglia presso il Dipartimento di Studi Sociali dell’Università di Gent (Belgio) e Chairman del Centro VBJK (Vernieuwing in de Basisvoorzieningen voor Jonge Kinderen - Centro per l’Innovazione dei Servizi alla prima Infanzia, Gent).

Svolge da anni ricerca sul tema della diversità nei servizi alla prima infanzia.