Academic journal article Australian Journal of Early Childhood

Early Childhood Educators: 'Drivers of Social Change'

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Early Childhood

Early Childhood Educators: 'Drivers of Social Change'

Article excerpt

High-quality early childhood education and care has a transformative role: it provides learning experiences for children and parents that empower; and it aims to enhance outcomes not just for individuals and families but for communities and society. High-quality education and care thus has a role in addressing disadvantage, and enhancing social justice and equity. Those of us working in early childhood can choose to position ourselves as drivers of social change. We can be inspired by a vision of a fairer society where all children and their families are able to share high-quality experiences in their early years of life, and hopefully throughout their lives.

How we operationalise our vision depends on our own strengths and opportunities. In this edition of AJEC we offer a range of articles that help us understand the impact of oppression and inequity on the lives of children and give us ideas of what we can do to address these inequities. Boardman discusses how age and gender impact on learning achievements for young five- and six-year-old children in Tasmania. It is clear that younger children and boys in the year-cohort examined demonstrate lower educational outcomes, and a quality service provision must offer these children appropriate learning experiences to address this disadvantage. Gibbons discusses the role of early childhood services in preparing children for participating in a technological world. Ability to participate requires the support of skilled and knowledgeable early childhood personnel to ensure that all children, irrespective of their differential access to technology in their homes, are able to succeed.

Kennedy, Ridgway and Surman discuss different life chances to succeed in literacy and numeracy. They warn that one of the barriers to success for children is the lack of understanding between the home and the out-of-home environments, in terms of the learning opportunities children have experienced, and thus the knowledge and skills children bring into the formal learning context. Gillen and Hancock remind us that children are themselves social actors, and their perspectives and understandings, combined with those of others, create a bi-directional socialisation and learning process. …

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