Learning and Teaching in a Neoliberal Era

The Tensions of Engaging in Froebelian-Informed Pedagogy while Encountering Quality Standards


  • Kristen Cameron Georgia State University (USA)
  • Deron Boyles Georgia State University (USA)


Friedrich Froebel, neoliberalism, early childhood education, quality, school readiness, parents, teacher education


Contemporary Froebelian-inspired early childhood education in the United States is challenged by government regulation and accreditation requirements that have arisen alongside neoliberalism in education. Using Critical Policy Analysis and case study examples from a preschool in Atlanta, Georgia, this paper examines the influence of neoliberalism on school readiness discourse, parental expectations for children’s education, and teacher preparation programs in early childhood education. For early childhood centers that are inspired by Friedrich Froebel’s philosophies of teaching and learning, remaining true to his vision of development and education is increasingly challenged by neoliberal regimes that reify accountability, assessment, and competition. Possibilities for resistance to the neoliberal ideology that regulates early childhood education are described and contextualized by Froebel’s writings.