'Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible'

A Memoir of Work in Childcare and Education
by Helen Penn
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Publisher: Taylor and Francis

Series: Contesting Early Childhood

Publication Date: August 20, 2018

ISBN: 9781351661522

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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An astute exploration of the complexities of working and learning in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care, Professor Helen Penn tells of her experiences of working as a teacher, social worker, campaigner, researcher and writer, and so reflects on the perennial and complex issues which shape this expanding field.

Mapping the author’s career from the mid-sixties onward, ‘Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible’ is a tribute to the progress that has been made in Early Childhood Education and Care over the past seventy years, and is a celebration of those who have acted on their principles to articulate and remedy hidden suffering. A first-hand commentary on adult-child relations, poverty, working with families, and engaging with democracy and inequality, Penn’s narrative reconstructs her past, and in doing so, produces a social history, which records the various shifts in policy and public attitudes which she has witnessed. The author recognizes the collective effort and teamwork of working within organisations but also the constraints and the tensions such organizations can create. She comments on the wider political system, and assesses the particular pattern of educational inequality and oppression which afflicts the UK.

One of the most well-known and respected figures in her field, Penn provides a unique perspective on change and provides a framework for understanding, assessing and working within the field of Early Childhood Education and Care. Insightful and frank, witty and funny, this book will be a valuable read for students, academics, researchers and practitioners involved in Early Childhood Education and Care.