Landscapes in Early Childhood Education: Cross-National Perspectives on Empowerment, a Guide for the New Millennium

Landscapes in Early Childhood Education: Cross-National Perspectives on Empowerment, a Guide for the New Millennium

Landscapes in Early Childhood Education: Cross-National Perspectives on Empowerment, a Guide for the New Millennium

Landscapes in Early Childhood Education: Cross-National Perspectives on Empowerment, a Guide for the New Millennium

Synopsis

Landscapes in Early Childhood Education provides an analytical framework for addressing current (global) issues within the field of early childhood education. Early childhood specialists from several nations show how they have applied this framework in their analyses of specific case studies. The case studies illuminate supports and constraints to the field and provide recommendations for improved practice. The case studies address areas or "landscapes": the global landscape - issues of global significance to the field of early childhood education; the political landscape - issues that show the relationship between politics and the field of early childhood education; the landscape of policy and practice - issues regarding micro policies and classroom practices; the professional landscape - issues relating to the development and practices of early childhood professionals; and the curricular landscape - issues relating to curriculum in early childhood settings.

Excerpt

Ivan Snook

At the beginning of his book, The Pedagogy of Hope, the celebrated educator Paulo Freire writes: “This book is written in rage and love, without which there is no hope” (1995, p. 10). Dr. Hayden’s collection reveals starkly that there is much to rage about in the field of early childhood. But it reveals just as forcibly the love that the contributors have for the field, for those who work in it, and for those they serve. It is a book of hope.

Hope is not to be confused with optimism, a state of mind that may be irrational and ineffective. Those who are hopeful, on the other hand, are realistic: they examine the situation clearly and face it honestly. Then they commit themselves to the action needed to bring about the hoped-for future. As Freire puts it: “The future of which we Dream is not inexorable. We have to make it, produce it, or else it will not come in the form we would more or less wish it to. We have to make it out of the concrete reality and more as a project, a Dream, for which we struggle” (p. 101).

For 200 years, early childhood workers have lived by a passionate belief in the inherent capacities of the young child. Rousseau and Froebel based this on metaphysical views: Rousseau on a view of human nature (the child is naturally good) and Froebel on a view of the divine (the child is literally part of God). Dewey, the secular philosopher, endorsed their educational principles but grounded them not in the abstract world of metaphysics but in the concrete demands of social life. in the twentieth century, he argued, the values of early childhood educators are identical to those needed by adults in a democratic society. the progressive spirit that focuses on the child as an autonomous person is also the spirit of democracy. in both cases, however, the social is just as important: we must, he says: “train children in cooperative and mutually helpful living; to foster in them the consciousness of mutual interdependence; and to . . .

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