The Struggle for early childhood curricula: A comparison of the English Foundation Stage Curriculum, Te Whariki and Reggio Emilia

Soler, Janet and Miller, Linda (2003). The Struggle for early childhood curricula: A comparison of the English Foundation Stage Curriculum, Te Whariki and Reggio Emilia. International Journal of Early Years Education, 11(1) pp. 57–68.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0966976032000066091

Abstract

Parents, teachers, researchers and politicians often have strong and conflicting views about what is right for young children in the years before school. Curricula can become 'sites of struggle' between ideas about what early childhood education is for, and what are appropriate content and contexts for learning and development in early childhood. This paper focuses upon the way visions for early childhood are expressed through the curricula offered in three very different contexts--in England, New Zealand and Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy. These three examples of early childhood curricula are compared in order to explore how a growing pressure from vocational and instrumental influences can impact on progressive and socioculturally inspired early childhood curricula and approaches. A comparison of these examples also reveals how early childhood curricula and educational systems are often forged amidst differing contexts in relation to national and local control of early childhood curricula and approaches. These differing contexts can also give rise to differing conceptualisations of knowledge, learning and pedagogy.

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