European Early Childhood Education Research Journal

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Online ISSN: 1752-1807
Print ISSN: 1350-293X
Public expenditure on day care (in billion Euro in 1994) -local providers
A Forgotten Issue: Distributional Effects of Day Care Subsidies in Germany In general child care subsidies are widely accepted as a means to create equal chances for mothers in the labour market as well as for children. Although there is a general consensus that the use of child care should be publicly supported, there is no consensus on how this should be done. Moreover, there is little knowledge on the distributional effects of child care subsidies. In order to assess whether public expenditures are targeted efficiently, it is, however, vital to know which social groups profit most from the public expenditures on children's day care and if taxpayers money is spent effectively. In Germany, as in other European countries, child care subsidies are mainly provided `in-kind'. Local communities and NPOs provide child care slots for children, which are -- except for a small fee - free of charge. In this study we estimate the distributional effects of state funded child da...
The present research effort aims to better understand parental choice of the Israeli Palestinian-Jewish bilingual primary schools and its implications in contributing (or not) to fostering multicultural and co-existence educational efforts in conflict-ridden societies. The manuscript offers a short description of the educational initiative under examination and the socio-political contexts within which it has evolved. The research was conducted using qualitative methodologies and includes in-depth two hour interviews which were conducted with 12 parents (six Palestinian parents and six Jewish parents). The parents were from two bilingual schools. The themes identified in the analysis are presented and discussed critically in terms of majority-minority relations.
Between 1975 and 1996, nursery education provision was developed in different ways across Scotland. National developments included the publication of school inspection reports and all nursery establishments were affected by an increased demand for written curriculum plans, reports and records. The controversial policy of one region to integrate education and social work nurseries affected one group of staff in particular. This paper studies the effects of the policies concerning nursery education of education authorities in three regions of Scotland on the head teachers of nursery schools and argues that there was a related negative effect on the quality of children's experience.
Since 1971 research at the Centre de Recherche sur l'Acquisition du Langage Oral et Ecrit has relied on L. Lentin's theses, namely that adapted verbal interactions between child and adult can help children master diversified language variants allowing them to adapt to various enunciative situations. Narration is envisaged as a potent means of language development and insertion into the culture. When an adult reads a child children's books responding to certain criteria and when the child attempts, with the adult's verbal help, to tell these stories in his own way he can progressively master the kind of syntactically structured and decontextualised language necessary for access to literacy, he can also develop an intuition of some characters of a written text.
We analyse both academic literature and practice reports to discover the main causes for unequal accessibility of high quality early childhood care and education (ECEC). In order to understand and to remedy this inequality we need to consider the interplay between elements of governance, of the management of services and elements on the level of parents. From this analysis as well as from reports on successful inclusive practises, we arrive at five quality criteria and make 13 recommendations for policy and practice.
This study examines the multiplicity of literacies while incorporating multiple modes of meaning to understand a young trilingual child's meaning-making processes. This qualitative study reports the results of a combination of ethnographic observations and a longitudinal case study of one child's multi-literacy development from birth to age six. Specifically, this study aims to explore how the child named Francesca (pseudonym) integrated the literacy repertoire that she had developed in and out of formal education within a multilingual context. In working with the qualitative data from the multiple sources, the study relies on Vygotsky's (197823. Vygotsky, L. S. 1978. Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.View all references) dialectical approach as an analytic framework with an emphasis on the unity of multimodal understandings of literacy. As such, based on Vygotsky's idea of leading activity defined as the main source of development within a period, four leading activities are identified to understand multi-literacy development of Francesca: (1) gesture/graphic gesture (drawings which are gesture-like in function) in free play; (2) gesture/speech in make-believe play; (3) speech/graphic speech (drawings as representations of objects) in role playing; and (4) writing/multimodality in rule-based play. These leading activities suggest the social situation of literacy development in which multiple semiotic tools were mediated in her interpersonal communicative contexts which could eventually become psychological tools for her own motives, emotions, inner speech, thoughts and actions. The implications will be addressed in supporting young culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children's literacy development.
The work of Vygotsky (1987) on everyday and scientific concept formation has provided a useful theoretical framework for considering the nature and connectedness of learning between the home and the early childhood centre. This paper will present the findings of an investigation which sought to examine the potential connections made between home and centres. Teacher narratives from eight experienced early childhood teachers were documented during professional learning about concept formation. Hedegaard's (2002) theorisation on the double move in teaching informed the analysis. In particular, the study sought to determine the active engagement of staff in relation to the conscious interlacing of both everyday and scientific thinking. The findings suggest that the participants of this study could not realise Vygotsky's important theoretical work on concept formation, and tended to take an inactive role in children's cognition. (Contains 1 figure and 2 footnotes.)
The purpose of this study was to examine the Greek kindergarten teachers' beliefs and practices relative to US ideas about developmentally appropriate or inappropriate practices based on the guidelines of the National Association of the Education of Young Children (Bredekamp, 1987). A questionnaire, created and applied by Charlesworth and colleagues (1993) was used as a measure to assess beliefs and instructional activities. This questionnaire was administered to 67 Greek kindergarten teachers. In addition, a checklist, created and applied by the same researchers, was used as an observation measure, to determine agreement or disagreement with the self-reported beliefs and practices and check their validity. The results indicated various similarities and differences between the Greek and US studies.
The early childhood sector in England, known as the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), has been a site of intense policy intervention over the last decade, including the introduction of a statutory assessment of children's development at age five, conducted by teachers. National results from this assessment, the EYFS Profile, show continued and significant disparities in attainment by children's socio-economic status, gender and ethnic group. Using data from ethnographic studies of ECE settings where the assessment is conducted, this article argues that the relationship between assessment and issues of inequality is complex in ECE, and there is great potential for low expectations of some pupils to result in low attainment, which can set the child on a trajectory of educational failure.
Public support provided for European early childhood education and care (ECEC) systems varies considerably. European ECEC systems tend to form part of a mixed economy, in which the state, private-for-profit and private-not-for-profit providers all play a role in ECEC's provision, funding and regulation, representing a market model. ECEC privatisation and marketisation in the UK has gone further than in other EU member states and there is growing evidence that these developments, including corporatisation, risk deepening, consolidating or widening inequalities of access to quality early childhood provision. The Norwegian and French systems illustrate how direct public funding and stringent regulation may counter childcare markets’ potentially negative impacts. As economic austerity makes its mark on Europe, childcare market challenges are growing and the need to rethink the appropriateness of delivering UK ECEC under market conditions becomes more acute.
The Out of the Box Festival of Early Childhood is a unique public event in Australia designed to enrich the creative and cultural lives of children aged 3-8 years and their communities. The research linked to this festival is based on the premise that parents’ participation in, and value of the arts, impacts engagements with, and value placed on the arts by their children. This study investigates the ways that a large cultural institution creates engaging relationships with parents of young children. We outline a program involving perception development, knowledge building, critical friends and outcome measurement and we identify attributes of the festival that enable a family-friendly arts environment. Early findings on the impact of activities on parent and child pursuit of the arts as an area of social and cultural enrichment enabled us to propose strategies for enhancing arts participation by parents and young children.
The mental, social and emotional worlds of Australian children and families present particular challenges to early childhood teachers engaged in progressing child language and thinking. Teacher knowledge of family lifestyles and culture, and the ways in which children construe events is fundamental to the provision of sensitive, effective learning experiences. Early childhood teachers' efforts to link the social and educational worlds of families impact directly on how the children and families take part in formal educational activity. Although teachers espouse the rhetoric of good practice, they face significant challenges in translating this rhetoric into behaviour that ensures high quality outcomes for all children. Some Australian research suggests that early childhood teacher beliefs about good practice and teachers classroom behaviours need re-appraisal if the notion of ‘children as competent learners’ is to drive classroom action and be relevant to all students. Indeed, some of the communicative contexts established in early years classes appear to contraindicate successful outcomes for child thought and expression and do little to enhance children's social, intellectual and intrapersonal competence. The paper explores the context of the Australian child by reviewing contemporary research and reporting findings from several studies conducted in Western Australia. One study provides valuable insights into the health and well being of children in both family and school contexts. Two further studies investigated the early years classes from the perspective of children as they co-constructed their understandings with significant others. The paper describes the interactions played out in classrooms as well as the impact of these interactions on learners. In addition, the paper reviews current literature and research on quality assurance and best practice as it relates to the role of teacher in enhancing child thought and language. Strategies for increasing teacher effectiveness in developing child language and thinking are also explored.
From consideration of children's rights in general and equal opportunities for disabled children in particular, it is important to consult children about barriers and supports to learning and participation. Finding appropriate and feasible ways, however, to incorporate this into educational programmes for younger children can present challenges. Here we report on what happened when teachers from reception classes in England for children aged 4–5 years implemented activities designed to access pupils' views about what helps or hinders at school. Teachers evaluated the feasibility and usefulness of the activities and, together with a small sample of children's responses, this showed that young children could indeed identify aspects of school life they like or dislike, laying the foundations for identifying barriers and supports to learning. Teachers' responses highlighted the importance of careful choice of activity to meet the needs of young children, particularly those with communication difficulties and/or low self-confidence, with staff in some cases adapting and merging activities to suit pupils' needs. Sensitive issues emerged concerning the introduction of consultation activities early in children's school careers. The implications of a compliant rather than collaborative approach by teachers are discussed in the context of children's right to have their views heard, and their developing understanding of difference.
After a critique of the standard literacy practice in primary school, the article develops a Vygotskian view on literacy that defines literate activity as a generalised ability of using sign systems for personal and interpersonal use within specific cultural practices. Narrative competence is seen as one specific form of this literate activity. With the help of Vygotsky's theory of thinking, narrative competence can be further analysed as a process of constructing topic predicate structures. Data from two case studies illustrate the dynamics of this narrative competence and its development. Finally, it is demonstrated how the characteristics of this narrative competence may be seen as a result of developmental education, as is developed in The Netherlands on the basis of Vygotsky's approach. (Contains 1 note.)
Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published [following peer-review] in European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, published by and copyright Routledge. Government commitment to the care and education of children from birth to three years in England led to the commissioning in 2001 of 'a framework of best practice' (DfEE, 2001:24) to support children in their earliest years. The resulting framework of 'effective' practice, together with supporting materials, was developed by a team based at Manchester Metropolitan University and led by Professor Lesley Abbott. Published as 'Birth to Three Matters' (DfES, 2002) the materials were distributed and disseminated nationally during 2003/2003. The project was underpinned by extensive research and consultation which both informed the framework development and raised important issues for future debate, policy and practice. An overview of the process is presented together with key issues raised by a national focus on our youngest children.
The study was carried out to investigate the book reading habits of families and teachers to hearing impaired and normal hearing kindergarten children. The sample of research was taken from 2 kindergartens. Eleven kindergarten teachers and 36 hearing impaired children and families formed one of the groups. The other group consisted of 11 kindergarten teachers and 40 normal hearing children and families. The questionnaire applied to teachers and families included questions about book choosing and reading habits. The results of this research shows that there is no significant difference in the book reading habits of the 2 groups to their children. But the hearing-impaired children families are more careful in book choosing and reading to their children.
The present study examines the cognitive activity that is evoked in young children when they are read a picture book that is written for the purpose of teaching mathematics. The focus of this study is to explore the effects of pictures on children's spontaneous mathematical cognitive engagement. The study is based on the assumption that the pictures in a picture book that is aimed at supporting children's learning of mathematics can have story-related components and mathematics-related components. The story-related components of the pictures contribute to grasp the global story context of the text and the mathematics-related components help to understand the mathematical content of the story. All of the pictures of the book under investigation, Six brave little monkeys in the jungle, have both story-related and mathematics-related components included. The pictures have a representational or an informational function. Four 5-year-old children were read individually the book by one of the authors without any probing. A detailed coding framework was used for analyzing the children's utterances that provided an in-depth picture of the children's cognitive activity. The results show that the picture book as a whole has the potential for cognitively engaging children. However, the pictures with a representational function were found to elicit mathematical thinking to a greater extent than the pictures with an informational function. Moreover, this was found for both types of components included in the pictures. Findings are discussed, practical implications for using picture books in kindergarten are drawn and suggestions for further research are made.
Poverty rates in European countries have increased during recent decades and are particularly high in East European countries. Young children are especially vulnerable to poverty. Poverty in early childhood can have irreversible negative consequences for cognitive, social and emotional development, academic achievement and behavioural adjustment. High quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) is one of the most effective means to break the cycle of poverty, but there are still many challenges. The coverage of ECEC in Europe is currently insufficient and varies widely between countries. Moreover the quality of ECEC needs to be raised and curricula should be adapted to meet the needs and cultural perspectives of communities living in poverty and enhance the inclusiveness of ECEC. Furthermore, ECEC needs to be combined with family support and support for bilingual development.
A study documented, evaluated, and compared the quality of education provided to 3- and 4-year-old children in diverse settings in the United Kingdom. The study also explored the relationship between different forms of child care settings and children's educational experiences, and considered the use of a combination of an evaluation of educational quality and professional development and training as an instrument for improving the quality of early childhood education. Detailed, qualitative descriptions of the experiences and practices, related to educational quality, of individuals involved in creating children's educational experiences were gathered. These individuals included managers, educators, parents, and children. This qualitative method is based on a recognition of the subjective and value-laden nature of the concept of quality. Data were gathered for 10 dimensions of quality: (1) aims and objectives; (2) curriculum; (3) teaching and learning styles; (4) planning, assessment, and record keeping; (5) staffing levels and staff training; (6) physical environment; (7) relationships and interaction; (8) equal opportunities with regard to race, class, and disability; (9) parental involvement, liaison, and coordination; and (10) monitoring and evaluation. Data for each dimension were collected using documentary analysis, systematic and focused observation and interviews, professional biographies, and vignettes. The type of qualitative methodology used is labor intensive, time consuming, and subject to bias, and can result in data overload. However, it also results in vivid, rich, and detailed accounts of policy grounded in practice; requires little specialist expertise to implement; and has a number of possible applications. (Contains 19 references.) (AC)
Descriptions and exemplars for categories of personal epistemological beliefs Descriptions Example statements
In the present study, the personal epistemological beliefs of group leaders in toddler child care programs are investigated. Epistemological beliefs are beliefs about knowing and learning. It is considered that the quality of these beliefs is influenced by educational experiences. In this study, such beliefs are assumed to be mediating factors in the nature and quality of child care practice. Six caregivers in toddler programs (children aged 18 months to 3 years) in Australia were videoed within their programs and subsequently asked to describe their personal epistemological beliefs as well as their beliefs about how children learn. In the interviews, excerpts from the video were presented and the caregivers asked to reflect on their practices. The interview data for each caregiver were analysed to ascertain the nature of the personal epistemological beliefs and the nature of beliefs about children’s learning. The manner in which caregivers’ reflective responses about their practices observed in the video aligned with caregivers’ personal epistemologies and their beliefs about children’s learning was also considered. Two caregivers, who held relativistic beliefs, also held strong constructivist perspectives about children’s learning that aligned with how they reflected on their practices. The other caregivers evidenced mixed or multiplistic epistemological beliefs. They described learning by children as an active or modelling process. These caregivers’ reflections on practice were congruent with their personal epistemologies and beliefs about children’s learning in viewing their educative role as a guide or a model for the children. Implications for how the exploration of personal epistemologies about knowing and learning can inform and enhance professional development programs are discussed.
Provision of early childhood education and care (ECEC) for Roma children serves as a litmus test for the broader social inclusion agenda in Europe. The majority of Roma children and families live in substandard, often insecure and isolated housing and have limited access to quality health, social care and education services. There is a growing commitment across the European Union, governments, international institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to invest in early childhood for Roma. Effective early childhood programmes have been piloted and the most successful focus on establishing trust and empowering communities. Some do this by hiring Roma staff and building the capacity of non-Roma staff to work with diverse populations in preschools and primary schools. Another approach is to develop integrated services in communities, often operated by NGOs. Improving the lives of Roma children in Europe will not be achieved unless discrimination is addressed in the society at large.
In this paper we discuss a study of cultural perspectives on peer conflicts in multicultural child care centres. On the level of child behaviour we did not find differences between native Dutch. Moroccan-Dutch and Antillean-Dutch children with regard to occurrence, duration and actions to solve peer conflicts. On the level of mother' opinions about interventions in peer conflicts of young children we did find more agreement than differences between the three cultural groups. On the level of images about cultural differences in parenting styles we found mutual negative stereotyping among the three cultural groups of mothers. Comparisons of their own childhood with current parenting behaviour showed that all mothers, irrespective of their cultural background, experience both continuity and adaptations to new life circumstances. Differences in style of discipline turned out to be the most critical issue in the comparisons between the generations and comparisons between the cultures.
Background: This exploratory study examines the relationship between stress and caregiver sensitivity among non-parental childcare centre staff who attend Chilean daycare centres serving low-income children between 12- and 24-months-old.Method: Participants were 23 childcare providers (nine teachers and 14 childcare technicians) who were evaluated with an average of three children each at one time. Stress associated to caregiving practices was assessed using the Parenting Stress Index–Short Form (PSI–SF), and caregiver sensitivity was measuring using the Child–Adult Relationship Experimental Index Toddlers (CARE-index).Results: No association was found between global level of stress and caregiver sensitivity. However, there was a significant association between the caregiver–child dysfunctional interaction subscale and caregiver sensitivity, specifically with the cognitive aspects of sensitive response and when a caregiver was nonresponsive. Furthermore, the ‘Difficult Child’ PSI subscale was associated with the cognitive aspects of the caregiver´s sensitive response.Conclusions: These findings support the relevance of children's early interactions with their non-parental caregivers and demonstrate how daily stress can affect the cognitive aspects of the caregivers’ sensitive response to the infants’ needs.
In 2005 the Child Care Act was introduced in the Netherlands. The explicit objective of the childcare reform has been to stimulate the operation of market forces so that childcare services are provided in an efficient way. The change towards a demand-driven financing system implies that there is no longer public provision of childcare services in the Netherlands. The emerging picture shows that the availability and use of childcare clearly increased since 2005. Due to the focus on working parents there is still inequality in childcare use by family type, yet this inequality does not seem to translate into unequal use of high quality childcare services by different socio-economic groups. Quality has been on a downward trend since process quality information was first collected in 1995. Yet, it seems likely that this negative trend is not the result of privatisation, but rather the rapid expansion in supply.
The quality of a child-care program can be evaluated from above, by visiting adults and observers; below, by the children in the program; outside, by parents served by the program; inside, by the staff of the program; and the perspective of society, which sponsors the program. The implications of these multiple perspectives are discussed. (MDM)
This paper is oriented toward the fact that children generally build up a system of thought that is ‘cohesive’ and ‘logical’, as far as their experience is concerned. Within the frame of this general orientation, our work tries to apprehend the particular logic of young children, as it derives from the explanations they give about everyday activities. For this purpose, the research examines the ability of children to settle causal relations and their capacity to make conclusions based on certain experiences and representations. In other words it examines the explanatory complex that the children have developed on their own. The research proposes that the preschool children have a solid explanatory basis for their everyday life, within which, on the one hand, the facts are not generally accepted but are interpreted through a certain “logic” and, on the other, the motives of actions and facts are clear and comprehensible.
Since 2010, the Chinese government has adopted a series of services and policies to provide early childhood education for disadvantaged children. The rapid economic development and urbanisation process since the mid-1980s have led to great changes in social structure and demographics in China. This creates new challenges for the education of disadvantaged children. One important issue to be addressed is the lack of quality education opportunities for a special group of disadvantaged children in China, children of migrant worker families. This article presents the social background of migrant children in China, analyses early childhood education system of China, and argues for equal education rights for migrant children. Finally, according to our long-term analysis of practice and policy in early childhood education, we discuss current problems and present future directions for providing compensatory education for these children.
The presentation is based on the ongoing research project The Pedagogical Formation of Early Childhood Education in Finland. The data of the first stage consists of all written kindergarten teacher training curricula drawn up in 1973-2002. The aim is to discover the nature of the expertise that the kindergarten teacher training programmes delivered over this period were intended to generate and also to discover what kinds of outlines, divisions and tools concerning the pedagogics of early childhood education the curricula of kindergarten teacher training have offered to the students in the different phases of the training. The curricula are placed in a context comprising the history of training in Finland and its main stages (institute phase, college phase, university phase). The training objectives have been closely linked with the development of day care and pre-school education provision. The objective texts reveal three dimensions in the expertise expected of a kindergarten teacher: a systemic and community-oriented perspective, promoting and supporting the children's development, and improving the kindergarten teacher's own critical thinking and the preparedness to acquire new information. Central subjects include early childhood education and developmental psychology. The curricula contain no intentional definition of early childhood education which would describe its most central features. Instead, they are grounded on extensional definitions, which list the phenomena covered by the domain of early childhood education. Developmental psychology has served kindergarten teachers as a source of theoretical tools for making sense of early childhood education, but now they should be able to analyse their work also on the basis of educational theory. Nevertheless, the union of education and development has been the strength of kindergarten teacher education. (Contains 1 table, 1 figure and 11 notes.)
Calls to broaden notions of 'literacy' from a focus on print-based and verbal literacies to the incorporation of a range of modes of communication and representation are increasing. This paper uses case study data from 3- and 4-year-olds in a New Zealand kindergarten to explore the affordances offered by different literacies to facilitate communication and learning, and the interplay among literacies. The focus includes verbal, visual and spatial-motoric literacy modes. Several key ideas are discussed: first, that the affordances offered by particular modes may make them better suited to some tasks than others and convey meaning in different ways; second, that use of different modes in combination enhances children's communication and learning; third, that boundaries between traditional and non-traditional literacy modes seem to be permeable; and fourth, that pedagogical discussions with parents can contribute greatly to teachers' understanding of children's favoured literacy modes. Implications include the need for early years teachers to take a broad view of literacies as modes of communication, conceptualisation and meaning-making, so that teachers can notice, support and expand children's favoured modes.
This article analyses how the sustainability culture has evolved in the early childhood education setting within the Spanish education system with official documents and the sustainability training received by teachers who intervene in this stage of education since these teachers' degrees have been adapted to the European Higher Education Area.Early childhood education in Spain is an individual stage to educate children aged up to six years (two main cycles: 0–3 and 3–6 years). It is important to verify if this stage of education includes curricular content that is designed to develop attitudes, behaviours and lifestyles that are in keeping with sustainability values.We conclude that it is necessary to include variables that outline sustainable development in early childhood education, to organize preliminary and continuous teacher training, and to inform the complete educational community so it is aware of the need for education to bring about changes towards sustainable development.
This paper explores the issue of how quality in early childhood services is defined and evaluated and examines some of the implications of working within a particular paradigm at a European level. The discussion begins with the concept of early childhood services, and how the approach to defining quality relates closely to the concept of service. Defining quality is the product of how researchers and caregivers conceive of early childhood services. Some issues are presented in the process of defining quality. The first issue concerns whom to include in the process of defining quality. The second issue concerns what conditions are needed to enable the development of an inclusionary approach. Four conditions discussed are: the wider culture, staff, external assessment, and time. The third issue concerns the limits of relativism. The fourth issue concerns the role of experts in an inclusionary approach. The inclusionary approach fits best with the concept of early childhood services as community institutions or resources, responsive to the needs, interests and cultures of their local communities, and playing a major role not only at individual and family levels but also in supporting community cohesion and development. (AP)
Violence is of increasing concern in our society and the development of an increasing number of children is compromised due to experiences of violence and trauma. Children who experience refugee or war-related trauma and violence are attending services in the community in increasing numbers. Long term outcomes for many of these children include increasing social isolation, peer rejection, violence, criminality, mental health problems and suicide. Research suggests that where services are able to meet children's needs effectively, long term outcomes can be positive. The research reported in this paper investigates the strategies used in child care services in three states of Australia to meet the needs of children who have experienced refugee or warrelated trauma.
In recent years, some researchers have been turning to children's views as a way to better construct knowledge about children and childhood issues. This article presents, firstly, a brief reflection on the image of child underlying this new perspective in research with children, an image that assumes, first and above all, a strong belief in children's rights and competence. The article also includes a presentation of some methodological considerations that should be taken into account when interviewing children, namely considerations around procedures, consistency and validation of the contents from interviews with children. It concludes with a debate about ethical issues. (Contains 1 table and 4 footnotes.)
The paper considers symbolic play in different age groups of children in preschool institutions. Symbolic play was stimulated through two different structured activities and dictation of the preparation and the use of different toys and play materials (i.e. thematic symbolic play and play related to pictorial material). The children's play was videotaped in their home playrooms. The videotapes were analysed by competent observers using Smilansky's scale for assessing dramatic and sociodramatic play. Analysis was aimed at establishing which elements determine the symbolic play of children of different age groups with regard to two different play situations, and how they determine it. At the same time, we wished to set out some critical points which significantly determine the nature and course of symbolic play in different age groups of children in preschool institutions.
The purpose of the research study presented in this article is to look at the ways that a specific group of children think about their families and to develop contextualized methods for listening to children's perspectives about their families. It starts with a brief presentation of the theoretical and pedagogical context where the study has been developed. It follows a review of relevant research on children's perceptions about families. The presentation of the empirical study encompasses the methodology, data analysis and data interpretation. Final comments highlight some shared saliences in the thinking of the children of this group about family concepts and emphasise children's desire, expectations and pleasure on parent-child play situations. (Contains 1 figure and 12 notes.)
This article examines the level of empowerment and autonomy children can create in their play experiences. It examines the play discourses that children build and maintain and considers the importance of play contexts in supporting children's emotional and social development. These aspects of play are often unseen or misunderstood by the adult observer. The article emphasises the importance of adult-free play, enabling children to experience a sense of power in their play and explore their awareness of personal and social relationships. It analyses the influence the adult can have on children's play spaces, by bringing an 'adult agenda' to the play situation, and how this may ultimately disempower children.
Most research on American and British preschool programs demonstrates that early learning experiences have an immediate positive impact on children's cognitive and social development. Because of this, there is a strong case for investment in high quality early learning on economic as well as social grounds. (MDM)
This paper contains an overview and discussion of longitudinal and international data relating to young people's developing understanding of waste materials and waste management from the age of four years. It describes data collected from samples of children in England and in Poland. Firstly we present longitudinal data from the English sample. Secondly we present data from four and six year-olds in Poland. Finally we make comparisons as far as is possible between the data from the two countries. Conclusions demonstrate that young people are very capable indeed of developing sophisticated understanding of waste issues; that carefully structured teaching materials designed to introduce an appropriate range of concepts in a progressive fashion are very important to the development of appropriate understanding; that teacher education on the subject is crucial to educational programmes, and that a holistic approach to waste management education underpins the acquisition of appropriate knowledge.
Previous research has shown that the Swedish preschool educational tradition is characterised by outdoor-oriented and democratic approaches. The purpose of this study is to empirically investigate what consequences these approaches have for preschool children's meaning-making of nature, when studied in practice, in children's spontaneous outdoor activities. The methodology is based on John Dewey's pragmatism with a specific focus on transaction, habits and customs. A transactional analysis method has been developed to fulfil the purpose of the investigation. The analysis illuminates relations between: (1) the Swedish preschool's educational tradition in terms of national customs; and (2) the local customs expressed in practice. Fifty-seven events were chosen for further analysis including play with water and sand, and sliding on snow. Consequences for children's meaning-making of nature are shown as possibilities for experience-based inquiry based on children's own choices and also for enjoying and feeling good in nature. The results show fewer possibilities for scientific concept learning. The results can thus be seen as a contribution to the early childhood educational discussion about how to arrange learning situations of natural phenomena and processes in preschools and at the same time maintain their democratic/outdoor-oriented characteristics.
This paper explores the potential for enhancing the effectiveness of the early learning experiences of young children, as a consequence of a genuine collaboration between researchers and teachers. The content extends from an eighteen month fieldwork period. This involved a critical analysis and evaluation of the relationship between four year old children and teachers in effective early learning. The study took place in Birmingham, UK. where all children are admitted to school at four years old. The fieldwork was compiled from two independent yet interdependent components. • • •Empirical research (January 1995 – July 1995) • •Action research (September 1995 – July 1996) Analysis of the empirical research (Mould, 1995) provided an essential foundation for the collaborative action research period. The nature of the sequential study provides the main focus for this paper. The study has illustrated the productive role of the researcher — teacher relationship in enhancing the effectiveness of the early learning and emotional well-being of young children. Results imply that the positive result of this development was dependent on the enhanced learning and well-being expressed by the teachers and researcher. Interim analysis indicates that those teachers who strive toward their optimum levels of ‘learning and well-being’ are in the most appropriate position to provide children with the ‘the best possible’ experiences.
This article presents an alternative participatory pedagogy in Early Years as a contribution to the promotion of equity and social justice for children, particularly those from ethnic minorities and low income families, enhancing their chances of educational success. The development of mass education was implemented in many countries by centralised educational systems through curricular uniformity that assumed cultural homogeneity. The increase of cultural diversity in current societies and schools make this bureaucratic assumption grossly inadequate for educating children in a school for all. To counteract this strategy, the Childhood Association, supported by the Aga Khan Foundation, has been developing a participatory pedagogy in Early Years alternative contexts, entitled Pedagogy-in-Participation. This article presents the development of participatory professional teams within this pedagogical perspective as a means to promoting equity and social justice. The initiative requires substantial investment in building up the capacity of the entire workforce to work with all type of diversities, including ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.
This small-scale research examined den-making in three different settings in the UK. The research consisted of non-participant, narrative observations of children aged between 3-and 5-years and early years practitioners involved in supporting them in their play. Content analysis revealed common themes: the impact of the environment on the way children utilised their play space, how the resources in an outdoor environment provided opportunities for children to generate and sustain their imagination and creativity, and how relationships with other children and early years practitioners were facilitated through the outdoor environment. The settings were diverse, an urban private day nursery with a courtyard outside space where appropriate materials were sourced from outside the setting for children to use, a rural private day nursery with its own woodland area and a childminder accessing a public woodland near her home. The research was based in England and therefore considered the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and in particular the principle 'enabling environments'. The research concluded that successful outdoor play offers flexible opportunities where children engage in imaginative and creative play, develop their communication skills and build relationships with other children and adults.
This article contributes to the debate on early years professionalism. It explores the impact of a continuous professional development (CPD) programme, in particular a module on professional practice, on early childhood care and education (ECCE) practitioners’ identity as early years professionals. Action research informed the development of the programme and ensured that everyone had a ‘voice’. Support in developing the participants’ pedagogical knowledge in the learning and teaching domains was also provided. Analysis of the data collected revealed, how through reflective practice and action planning, ECCE practitioners’ perception of themselves changed. Through actively evaluating their own practice and measuring it against the theory and official discourse of early years quality and curriculum frameworks, the participants gained new knowledge about themselves and their teaching. They also acquired the professional language required to discuss children's learning and their practice with others.
This article seeks to answer three central questions pertaining to public–private partnership in early childhood education and care (ECEC provision) in Norway: How has public–private partnership developed during the last four decades? How is public–private partnership understood in Norwegian ECEC policy? What seem to be the future challenges in public–private partnership in Norway? The approach to these questions is to view ECEC provision in relation to the Norwegian policy areas of welfare, work, family, and education. The developments within public–private partnership in Norwegian ECEC have followed two main principles. The first one is the rational organisational perspective. ECEC is a means to meet major problems in society. This is achieved through rationally constructed policy, and public–private partnership is an integral part of this policy. The second principle is dominated by established organisational traditions. Partnership in itself is in accordance with traditions in the ECEC sector in Norway. This understanding of ECEC quality in partnership is consistent with how this has historically been expressed in the sector.
This paper discusses the preschool component of the Educational Agreement presented to the Portugal Parliament in May 1996 to improve the quality of the educational system. Among the 10 Action Commitments in the Agreement is the creation of a national network for preschool education. The context of the inclusion of preschool in this Agreement is discussed, including the results of research documenting the need for preschool education in Portugal, such as low literacy rates and high secondary drop-out rates. Discussion of the current plan for expanding preschool education includes: (1) the changing role of governmental ministries in preschool education to consist of regulation, supervision, coordination, and compensation; (2) the need to respond to cultural diversity in preschool programs; and (3) new legislation, such as the Public Law on Preschool Education, which affirms the principle of social partnership for the expansion of the preschool program and delineates priorities for support and finding for preschool education. The development of curriculum guidelines and contract-programs with the state are part of its regulatory role to enhance educational quality in preschools. A new inter-ministerial Office for the Expansion and Development of Preschool Education will coordinate the initiatives for the development of preschool education. There is increased recognition of the need for training for early childhood educators at the university level, for providing inservice training for all current preschool teachers, and for preparing preschool teachers in adult education. The early childhood educator should be a professional with a sense of her vocation. (Contains 16 references.) (KDFB)
This study examined the teaching methods of two Icelandic preschool teachers, their beliefs about early childhood curriculum, and the goals of their programs, emphasizing the connection between the context of the preschool teachers and their pedagogical work. Participating in the qualitative study were two preschool teachers from the city of Reykjavik: Helga, with 25 years of teaching experience, and Kristin, with 6 years of teaching experience. Data were gathered through observations in various locations, nine semi-structured interviews, and examination of artifacts such as letters to parents, guidelines, and planning sheets. The findings showed that the two preschool teachers' methods, goals, and beliefs had similar main assumptions, with pedagogical work characterized by informal teaching, play, and child- initiated activities. The two teachers found it difficult to explain reasons for their practices and to articulate their beliefs about pedagogical issues. Teachers' beliefs regarding goals, what children should learn in preschool, how children learn and develop, the role of play and outdoor play, the teacher's role, and teaching were compared and contrasted. Differences in the teachers' beliefs were found to be consistent with differences in their practice. Findings were examined in relation to the national curriculum and the cultural context. A cultural tension was found between traditional Scandinavian and Icelandic preschool traditions and more current trends in early childhood education mainly coming from the United States. The results suggest that the cultural context is influential in molding the attitudes and beliefs of preschool teachers and thus influencing the nature of the early childhood program. (Contains 53 references.) (KB)
Stories are described as subclasses from which narrations are composed and which represent event sequences involved in the protagonist's attempt to achieve a goal or to solve a problem. This research aims to investigate the likelihood of knowledge transfer procedures in story recall tasks. Initially the narrative reproduction aptitude in weak structured event stories of 32 sample-group children was investigated in problem solving tasks. Klauer's ‘Denktraining I’ programme was applied in the experimental group. After the end of the programme all children were re-evaluated in a similar but more complicated narrative task and in a pictorial ordering task. The most important finding was that the inductive reasoning training led to knowledge transfer in kindergarteners, while it had minor influence on pre-kindergarteners.
Social pretend play is considered to be beneficial to literacy development. However, observations in the case study of social pretend play by a boy from the age of 3 to 5 years, showed that at this young age the children's play may also have its limitations with regard to literacy-related features. On the one hand, children create a reciprocal support system for each other's imagination, and develop a metalinguistic capacity by their negotiations. On the other hand, the situation bound nature of this kind of play offers a limited opportunity for planned, extended discourse. It will be argued that a well-defined pedagogy should involve a broad narrative approach to address both potentials and limitations. The analysis as well as a pedagogy of play may benefit from Vygotskyan concepts.
Episodes and examples in the analysis.
Becoming by cartographing and mapping: children playing on a carpet.
Becoming by creating: children making landscape in a sandbox.
Becoming by embedding: children sunbathing on a table.
The voluntary after-school setting is a significant part of the educational system in Sweden and includes about 80% of the children from 6- to 9-years-old. The national curriculum stipulates that the setting should not carry on teaching, but provide a stimulating and safe environment and offer activities that support the development of values, communicative and social skills. The aim of this article is to challenge this polar understanding of knowledge and discuss after-school pedagogy from a ‘nomadic’ and democratic perspective, based on observations of how children receive, handle and develop activities in the after-school setting. The results present an alternative understanding of learning and knowledge and show that children's activities unfold and open for new ways to assemble and handle a situation, although not articulated and understood as learning by the pedagogues. The staff's supervising and fostering activities can interrupt the children's flow and becomings, but in some cases also be supportive. This implicates a pedagogy in the after-school setting that builds on children's play, intensity and the joy of exploring the possibilities of a situation.
The aim of the present study was to examine the social behaviour and competence of children, ages 3-6 as they progressed through the stages of second language acquisition in a dual-immersion program in English and Mandarin. Over 100 2-3 hour classroom observations were made during the school year. Teachers' evaluations of children's social competence and behaviour were collected at the beginning and end of the school year. Results suggest that girls had more social adjustment difficulties than boys. However, as language skills increased, adjustment difficulties decreased significantly among all children.
Top-cited authors
Michel Vandenbroeck
  • Ghent University
Johanna Einarsdottir
  • University of Iceland
Mathias Urban
  • Dublin City University
Deborah Harcourt
  • Australian Catholic University
Bert van Oers
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam