Dr. Claudia Ruitenberg – An Ethic of Hospitality in Early Childhood Education

March 15th, 2016

Karin Alnervik, co-founder of the innovative HallonEtt (“Raspberry”) preschools in Jönköping and Huskvarna, Sweden, once remarked casually: “It is important for children to meet adults who like being adults.” In this conversation with colleagues and students in early childhood education, Dr. Claudia Ruitenberg examined the deceptively simple notion of “adults who like being adults” as an example of what philosopher Jacques Derrida has called “an ethic of hospitality.” In previous work Dr. Ruitenberg proposed this ethic as a guiding framework for education, though not yet specifically in relation to early childhood education. Threads of the collective investigation she shared included: What does it mean to be an adult who “likes” being an adult? What does it mean for adults and young children to “meet” each other? And how do early childhood educators who like being adults enact hospitality for young children?

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