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‘Critically analyse your understanding of the relationship between culture and pedagogy and the implications of the globalisation of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)’
International perspectives are a greatly researched and widely explored topic. One aspect that engages closely with the relationship between culture and pedagogy. Also explored throughout is the implications of how globalisation can affect early childhood education and care. The three main aspects of the essay will be looking globalisation, culture and pedagogy. This essay will address the importance of the value of play and how the western model view play to make sure it is still incorporated and that they are not taking play out of a child’s curriculum. According to McDowall-Clark (2016) “Globalisation is how modern economic systems and technology enable trade and the financial markets to operate on a global scale” (p.115). Culture can have several different meanings as everyone holds different views on what culture is believed to be. Culture is about what groups people together the beliefs, artefacts, the values and other things that are of an importance making sure that the people feel a sense of belonging to the group (Smidt, 2006). Alexander (2004) defines pedagogy as “what one needs to know, and the skills one needs to command, in order to make and justify the many different kinds of decisions of which teaching is constituted”. The key themes will look at play, quality and the rights of the child and how the child is viewed.
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The global interest of early education and care (ECEC) has a big impact (Miller and Cameron, 2014) and its history of sharing its ideas internationally, with the global handover of ideas on early childhood education and care representing a broad range of theoretical approaches from the views on child development and pedological practice (Campbell-Barr and Bogatic, 2017). The curriculum has its own importance in its own right which allows children to be able to determine their own lives (Soler and Miller, 2003). Early education and care services looks at situations on a global scale (Campbell-Barr and Bogatic, 2017). Early education and care have been put in place to help services for children from birth and prior to starting to school, this can often be difficult as the ECEC is set in a global context (Campbell-Barr and Bogatic, 2017). As school starting age can vary globally, as do the facilities that come before starting school in different areas. This also may depend on the starting school age of children which can vary between country (Campbell-Barr and Bogatic, 2017). Globalisation can affect countries as they may not be in the position to provide the same form of childhood compared to others (McDowall-Clark, 2016). This has been impacted on globalisation as there has been international standards set of what childhood should be for children (Wyness, 2015).
The earlier a child is exposed to stimulation, learning opportunities and receive appropriate health, nutrition, care and protection it is seen the development learning outcomes and function in society will be more advanced (Papatheodorou and Wilson, 2016, p.79). Early childhood and care are now a interventionist service especially for children (UNESCO, 2010). In Sweden they feel that for children to have an environment that they have rights and agency then practitioners need to be listening to children and taking on board theirs views (Lewis, No Date). To then put their thoughts into action on the important things they are communicating (Lewis, No Date). The Te Whariki approach integrates care and education under education as they recognise the diversity of ECEC in New Zealand (REFERENCE).
Globalisation can cause may implications as it can be seen to increase poverty in the poorest countries by controlling resources and increasing the gaps between the rich and poor (McDowall-Clark, 2016). In comparison some people believe it can benefit others due to the international trade as they learn to develop economically (McDowall-Clark, 2016). There are many views on what childhood is and how children should be cared for and educated which is varies between countries (Georgeson, Payler and Campell-Barr, 2013). This has been a contribution to the international reputations of many early education and care pioneers such as Vygotsky and Froebel (Campbell-Barr and Bogatic, 2017).
Certain aspects will be focused on and others will be ignored or go unnoticed, depending on their values and principles (McDowall-Clark, 2016). For example, the UK highlights that literacy and numeracy compared to Scandinavian practitioners, that don’t agree with the assessment of children that are part of British culture (McDowall-Clark, 2016).Play is often regarded as ‘deficit time’, in that it should be used for something more purposeful activities that are more academically driven (Wells, 2015). As early childhood education has become focused on targets and learning instead of children being able to play for fun (Wells, 2015). Schools have to prioritise learning over play as there is pressure put on academic grades for children to achieve in school and to do this schools have to reduce time playing (Wells, 2015).
Fleer (2006) believes that in most European heritage countries early childhood education and care provision is based on materials, play and the quality of the environment, but the materials remain uncontested. This results in that ‘standard’ early childhood education and care practice is based on a western view of childhood (Fleer, 2006).
Quality is a big part of early education and care (European Commission, 2014), as research suggests that quality early education and care facilitates fairness of opportunity amongst children by offering them early intervention that improves their life chances of those from socio-economically disadvantaged families (Cohen and Korintus, 2017). The social welfare contribution of ECEC services are further shown by other organisations such as the organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD’s approach to quality has been seen to be part of a wider issue in attempting to define, measure and observe quality in relation early childhood education and care (Moss et al, 2016). This approach is a way of trying to conceptualise ECEC quality as specific, measurable and assessable (Campbell-Barr and Bogatic, 2017). By making changes to children’s lives on how they should live are the reasons why the quality of children’s lives has improved (Wells, 2015, p.216). These represent the progress and the understanding of children’s human rights (Wells, 2015, p.216). In this case it is better if children go to school rather than work, children should be rescued from situations that children shouldn’t be doing this should not be stopped by anyone culture (Wells, 2015, p.216).
Within global discourses, childhood and children have come up on top as being the main family domain (Leira and Saracenco, 2008). Children’s age is usually a determining factor for what children should be doing for example at school or at home. Usually global discourses determine these aspects of children’s everyday lives. In Western culture the dominant discourse in association with children is their stages of development and play which then contribute to how we consider a child (Smidt, 2006, p.8). The normal child that shapes the discourses around funds in ECEC services is likely to be a western child (Tobin, 2005). This is what they believe children will need in western societies will require as future citizens (Campbell-Barr and Bogatic, 2017). Penn (2014) forewarns that globalisation is encouraging woman to move away from rural areas to cities. Which then creates pressure to provide ECEC based on models that are inappropriate to the sociocultural contexts of children’s lives (McDowall-Clark, 2016, p.120).
James and James (2004) believes that the UNCRC can be seen to be problematic in its attempt to regulate childhood across time and space, which ignores the diversity of culture. This suggests that the UNCRC wasn’t as universally applicable in practice than intended to be (McDowall-Clark, 2016, p.122). Children should be able to express their views and having their views appreciated as much as anyone else is (Wyness, 2015, p. 74). As time there is a growth on beliefs and values about childhood are becoming globalized (Montgomery, 2003, P.69). For example, every country except USA and Somalia has agreed and signed the United Nation Convention on the rights of the child to agree on what they class a child as being under eighteen (Montgomery, 2003, p.69). This is not always the case as children don’t just turn adults at eighteen in all societies in many it takes time to attain the rights (Montgomery, 2003, p.69).
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Children’s development is always changing and can vary in the global spread views that children ‘learn through play’ (Bennett et al, 1997). A common interest has been found in the ways that children play in diverse cultures, but the views of adults in theses cultures on the involvement of children’s play to impact their development and learning (Brooker and Woodhead, 2010). In ‘western’ societies the impact of play on development was associated with the emergence and dissemination of constructivist theories of learning (Piaget, 1951; Sylva et al., 1976; Vygotsky, 1978). Which is about providing ‘playful learning’ in both family and preschool settings (Brooker and Woodhead, 2010). Play can often be hard to integrate into learning but as long as the curriculum values it, it can easily be joined in (Pearson and Degotardi, 2009).‘Play pedagogies’ (Wood, 2008) were viewed as being culturally inappropriate for children as it was assumed, ‘childhood’ was a time for work or study rather than for play (Brooker and Woodhead, 2010).
Cross-cultural studies have helped to restore the balance, showing that parents in most societies value play as an activity for children, and that in many communities children’s play is understood as beneficial for their development and learning (Brooker and Woodhead, 2010). Nevertheless, the concept of ‘pretend play’ is seen to be a preparation for adult life, and a space to try out cultural behaviours (Brooker and Woodhead, 2010). This suggests that parents everywhere are able to identify a role for play in preparing children for participation in the community, if not for teaching them school-like knowledge and skills (Brooker and Woodhead, 2010).
Tobin (2005) looks at the international reputation of Reggio Emilia and the ideas of loris Malaguzzi, Tobin identifies that the ideas have been shaped by Italy’s history of sharing Early Childhood Care and Education pedagogical practices in that the principles of Reggio approach are likely to adhere to liberal minded educationalists. The development of the ECEC in Reggio is set within its cultural and historical context and its pedagogical ideas formed by Reggio are identified as an ‘approach’ (Tobin, 2005).
Culture has many different layers (Alexander, 2000) for example British, English and Cornish have one culture compared to the Mediterranean culture in Croatia gives greater complexity on how their culture is portrayed (Campbell-Barr and Bogatic, 2017). In addition to the geographical forms of culture each country has to consider gender, social class, religion, ethnicity etc (Campbell-Barr and Bogatic, 2017). Fleer (2006) believes that people should consider how society and culture influence the development of children. Further research needs to be developed to be able to move beyond the western pedagogy of child centred teaching and learning (Fleer, 2006). As child-centred play is built on the belief that play fits the child, compared to the child fitting the play (Screech, 2009, p.76). Children’s needs are not culturally shaped, they are universally decided (Wells, 2015, p.216). Nordic countries recognise childhood as a distinct cultural group by engaging in their own activities and rituals play is a characteristic of the Nordic approach (Wells, 2015).
Play is a common attribute to a child’s way of life (Brooker and Woodhead, 2013). It is about how they play and the themes they adopt may be culture-specific (Smidt, 2006, p.52). According to Brooker and Woodhead (2013) play is a contributing factor to a child’s development and due to this it is now encouraged in both family settings and preschools. Play is seen to be a ‘child’s work’ in that they play and their toys are their tools (Cross, 1997). Every type of play can help develop a child in contributing to a growing child’s skills and competences (Brooker and Woodhead, 2013). By giving children opportunities to play it provides them with agency (Brooker and Woodhead, 2013). In comparison Wells (2015) believes though that everything needs to be productive which undermines the role of play. Although Erikson viewed play as growth enhancing (Wells, 2015, p.119).
The dominant cultural values, beliefs and aspirations of society can determine what education and play should truly look like (Wood, 2010, p.13). The culture of the setting can determine what they are allowed to play with or not (Wood, 2010, p.13). A setting should provide ‘challenging and appropriate play-based content reflecting individual needs’ (DfES, 2007, P.8). However, the quality of play is to be followed in relation to ‘learning as acquisition’. Practitioners are to follow different pedological approaches which involve adult-led and child-initiated activities as well as ‘free’ and structured play (Wood, 2010, p.16).
In conclusion globalisation is always been affecting and is still is affecting Early Childhood Education and Care. It has had a big impact on how it shares its views internationally. It is something that always is being looked at on how we should have high care and education for children. Culture and pedagogy have a clear link to one another and influence the way play is portrayed for children. Play generates culture that is separate from the adult world. Play allows children to express themselves in many ways as well as helping their learning and development. Children’s rights should be made clear to every child and adult to ensure that the child’s rights are put in to place. Consideration needs to be taken when other countries are involved as their values may vary. The quality of care and education is important to make sure that children are doing what they should be for the age to be kept safe. Children need that stability to be able to play in line with along with their cultural beliefs and pedagogical views that they are a part of.
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