Hannah Arendt’s “The Human Condition” in the realm of early childhood education: Perceptions and reality

Grace LAU, Kwok Keung HO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article is an academic commentary on the concept of sociology of education. The authors have ventured through the lens of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition and discuss its impact might have had if the corresponding mode of education and pedagogy be carried out in reality according to what Arendt had inspired her readers. A cross reference has been made on the recent 2017 early childhood reform document in Hong Kong on Play with the anticipated forms of education which the authors have perceived in Arendt’s The Human Condition, namely the ‘labor’, ‘work’ and ‘action’. Since “free play” is highly promoted in the latest early childhood reform document and is tempered by the role of the teacher. As teacher is endorsed to perform the role of “feedback-giver” in the process of play, it has matched precisely with Arendt’s perception of “works of art” and eventually paving the way to “action-vita-activa” as forms of education for the promotion of democratic collaborative learning. Since “Sociology” has an intimate connection with politics, it is anticipated that following the implementation of free play for young children in the early childhood classroom and by the tactic guide of the teachers, the educational landscape of the early years education in Hong Kong will be changed significantly. The impact of this on the society at large has yet to be examined in the long run. Copyright © 2018 INASED.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-28
JournalInternational Journal of Progressive Education
Issue number2
Early online dateApr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018



Lau, G., & Ho, K. K. (2018). Hannah Arendt’s “The Human Condition” in the realm of early childhood education: Perceptions and reality. International Journal of Progressive Education, 14(2), 13-28. doi: 10.29329/ijpe.2018.139.2


  • Hannah Arendt
  • The Human Condition
  • Play
  • Early childhood education
  • Sociology of education