Making thinkable again

I’ve always been concerned about exclusion, both as a child as well as an adult. I have come to understand that at the core of exclusion are static identities. If one doesn’t conform or fit to these static conceptualisations of identities, they inevitably stand on the outside with the ever longing feeling to belong. There is usefulness in crystalising identities especially when trying to address and acknowledge systems and feelings of exclusion. But as history will bear witness, those attempts sooner or later will lead to further exclusion. Just look at the history of feminisms. Essentialising the category of women is useful to address injustices most women face, but it automatically erases the unique forms of oppression other women experience, for instance women of colour, trans women, or women from working-class backgrounds. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely need those feminist movements that address those specific injustices, but the moment they become ‘settlements’, they do the exact same thing that they set out to dismantle.

I think the fundamental problem with exclusion is that theories that enable us to grapple with the complexities of life are unavailable for us to think-with. We’re still thinking early childhood with theories of dead white men like Freud, Piaget and Erikson. Their theories have become so dominant in early childhood education, that it almost seems impossible to think, let alone think outside their logic. There is a definite need within early childhood circles to look for theories that can grapple with movement, complexities, contradictions and liveliness.

‘What happens when human exceptionalism and bounded individualism, those old saws of Western philosophy and political economics, become unthinkable in the best sciences, whether natural or social?’

(Haraway, 2016, p.30)

Sid Mohandas is a Montessori teacher and teacher trainer from the UK. He founded The Male Montessorian, as a platform to grapple with the complexities of gender within early childhood spaces. He completed his Montessori training at Montessori Centre International (MCI), London. Later pursued qualifications in Early Childhood Education with London Metropolitan University and his Master’s in Early Childhood Education at the Institute of Education, UCL. Sid is currently doing his PhD on reconfiguring gender of the early years workforce using posthuman theories.


Haraway, D.J. (2016) Staying with the trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene Durham and London: Duke University Press

3 thoughts on “Making thinkable again

  1. Insightful, I have been thinking a lot of how Child Development course is taught at the Montessori training center. Seems almost always stuck to old research and findings- there isn’t invitation to challenge or even dig deeper and explore what we know now. Part of it, it’s “old” or should I say mature instructors who are not up to date with new research, findings and inquiry. Thank you for getting me started to thing wide and deep into this.

    • Dear Tatenda, thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I agree, I think having a loose grip on dominant theoretical frames is vital for us to uncover what other stories are possible in our various encounters in early childhood spaces. The linear stages of development are in itself extremely reductive, and do not account for the complex, rhizomatic ways development unfolds in the classroom. The linear stages have been useful in some ways but they have also been used to scaremonger and harm. Moreover, the linear stages have been taken up and used by certain political groups to support their agenda of producing certain kinds of childhoods and societies. In the midst of such uncaring politics, we absolutely need other theories and worldviews that take the feminist ethic of care seriously.

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