Warehousing children

Thubnail for the Kindergarten episode on Standard Time, 4 speakers at a table

From the public school superpower Finland to arch-capitalist Britain, education varies widely across Europe. Across this spectrum, one factor remains constant: early childhood education constitutes a necessity for most families, as it defines the future of their children’s academic careers. 

You can also listen to the show in podcast format:

What we recognize today as nurseries and kindergartens originate from early 19th-century experiments: Robert Owen’s Infants’ School in Scotland opened in 1816, while Teréz Brunszvik championed ‘angel gardens’ in Hungary beginning in 1828. The term ‘kindergarten’ – meaning children’s garden, can be credited to Friedrich Fröbel, a German pedagogue who founded the concept in 1840. The idea soon crossed oceans: the first public-school kindergarten opened in the 1870s in St. Louis, USA, and by 1880, there were over 400 kindergartens in 30 US states. 

Today, this professional field serves a complex function, integrating children of varying abilities and backgrounds, experimenting with methodologies, and enabling working families to even exist. Aside from making plenty of macaroni art, these institutions develop skills, support children’s personal development and socialization, integrate minorities, teach language manners, as well as foster intellectual and emotional growth. 

But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns in the early education realm; across Europe, many countries have been continually reducing their spending on education since the 1990s, consequently putting strains on professionals and making the cost of childcare a significant burden. Additionally, early education for migrant and refugee children is something that needs to be tackled, following especially the 2015 ‘crisis’ and more recently the war in Ukraine. While the EU was arguably better prepared for the former in terms of providing care and education, it has had to find ways to adjust to the latter group more quickly, with challenges still arising for both. 

Early childhood education plays a tremendous part in supporting families and children’s development. They are a cornerstone of society, and in many places across the continent, they need more support than they currently have. 

Today’s guests

Viktória Szücs is the president of the  Democratic Trade Union of Crèche Employees in Hungary. She’s a loyal advocate for enhancing the professional landscape for pedagogues, ensuring they have the resources and support they need to nurture the young minds of tomorrow.

Maria Roth is the director of the Montessori Adult Education Center in Munich with 50 years of experience. She is a recognized AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) trainer specialising in the developmental age of 3 to 6 years

Flóra Bacsó is a mediator, restorative facilitator, trainer, and project manager at the Partners Hungary Foundation, invested in the integration of Roma pupils into education systems. She is also a teacher of Related Education, a trauma-informed methodology that aids parents and educators. 

We meet with them at the Library of Central European University in Budapest. 


Monitoring the provision of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services for Ukrainian refugee children and their families in Europe by Ecorys

How is Europe welcoming Ukrainian refugee children in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services? by the European School Education Programme

Creative team

Réka Kinga Papp, editor-in-chief
Merve Akyel, art director
Szilvia Pintér, producer
Zsófia Gabriella Papp, executive producer
Margarita Lechner, writer-editor
Salma Shaka, writer-editor
Priyanka Hutschenreiter, project assistant


Hermann Riessner  managing director
Judit Csikós  project manager
Csilla Nagyné Kardos, office administration

Video Crew Budapest

Nóra Ruszkai, sound engineering
Gergely Áron Pápai, photography
László Halász, photography


Nóra Ruszkai, lead video editor
István Nagy, video editor
Milán Golovics, conversation editor


Victor Maria Lima, animation
Cornelia Frischauf, theme music

Captions and subtitles

Julia Sobota  closed captions, Polish and French subtitles; language versions management
Farah Ayyash  Arabic subtitles
Mia Belén Soriano  Spanish subtitles
Marta Ferdebar  Croatian subtitles
Lídia Nádori  German subtitles
Katalin Szlukovényi  Hungarian subtitles
Daniela Univazo  German subtitles
Olena Yermakova  Ukrainian subtitles
Aida Yermekbayeva  Russian subtitles
Mars Zaslavsky  Italian subtitles

Hosted by the Library of the Central European University, Budapest


This talk show is a Display Europe production: a ground-breaking media platform anchored in public values.

This programme is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and the European Cultural Foundation.

Importantly, the views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and speakers only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the EACEA can be held responsible for them.



In Soundings, Óscar García Agustín discusses the traces of Eurocommunism that linger on in contemporary European politics. ‘The legacy of Eurocommunism is, at the least, paradoxical. Although few voices from the left claim its validity and relevance for a left project nowadays, references to Eurocommunism … return again and again to account for proposed reforms, […]

Read More

Omri Boehm’s ‘Speech to Europe’

On the 5 May, a Viennese public assembled on Judenplatz in the city’s First District to listen to the Israeli philosopher Omri Boehm deliver his ‘Speech to Europe’, the third in the series following Oleksandra Matviichuk (2023) and Timothy Snyder (2019). The square was packed. People were curious to hear what Boehm, well-known as a […]

Read More

No future!

Dreary, dismal, drab, forlorn. In an issue of Wespennest entitled ‘No future’ (a homage to the Sex Pistols, as the cover makes clear), Jens Balzer writes on ‘Softies, punks and smoked sausage: The pop-cultural marketization of apocalyptic feelings in the Eighties.’ With 1980s West Germany apparently threatened by nuclear apocalypse, the ‘softie’ band Die Bots […]

Read More