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Investing ECEC Democracy

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presented at the 21st EECERA conference in Geneva (Switzerland), 14-17 Sept 2011

presented at the 21st EECERA conference in Geneva (Switzerland), 14-17 Sept 2011

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Investing ECEC Democracy Investing ECEC Democracy Presentation Transcript

  • Investing in early childhood education for sustaining democracyPast, present and future critical issues within the Italian context Geneva, 15 September 2011
  • Aim and scope of the study:- Past developments, current trends and future directions in ECEC policy-making (3 to 6 services)- Policy-making conceptualised as a multilevel process: complex interaction between national, regional, local dynamics- Socio-cultural perspective: how historical, social and cultural influences shape ECEC policy-making over time- Phenomenological analysis (highlighting themes, contradictions and tensions)- Sources: policy documents, laws, curricular guidelines and documentary sources
  • Context: origin of ECEC institutions Before 1960 most pre-schools (Asili) were run by Catholic affiliated bodies:Charity purposescustody ofdisadvantagedchildren Pedagogy inspired by family like model (Agazzi, 1948) View slide
  • Context: origin of ECEC institutions (cont.) Radical roots of municipal pre- schools Democracy Civic traditions (Putnam, 1992) ParticipationSolidarity (Malaguzzi, 1972) Social JusticeChildren’s right to education (Ciari, 1969) View slide
  • Context: origin of ECEC institutions (cont.)1968: the State takes over responsibility in the pre-school sector ‘attendance not mandatory & free of charge’ Scuola Materna for education of young children and assistance to working families National guidelines (Orientamenti, 1969) Tripartite system: Municipal, State, Catholic pre-schools
  • Policy-making in ECEC: first phase (1970s) Democratisation of school institutions under the influence of municipal experiences:- parents’ participation to decision-making committees (schools as democratic communities interacting with wider social and civic community)- inclusion of special needs children in integrated settings (universal right to education)- educational responsibility shared by all team members (joint work and collegiality)
  • Policy-making in ECEC: second phase (1980- beginning 1990s)Consolidation of the pedagogical identity of Scuola dell’Infanzia:- local experimentalism contributes to further qualify municipal services under local and regional administrations (pedagogical coordination, documentation and research centres, experimental services: eg. tempo per le famiglie - MI, area bambini -PI)- the ‘culture of childhood’ (Mantovani, 1987) developed within municipal services inspires the new pedagogical guidelines of state scuola dell’infanzia (holistic approach, children’s active participation to social and cultural life of their communities, project work) > Orientamenti, 1991
  • Policy-making in ECEC: third phase (late 1990 – beginning 2000)Trends of devolution in a time of financial constraints:- progressive devolution of central authority to regional and local administrative bodies- autonomous management of school institutions (istituti comprensivi) > contradictory effects due to limited funding- equal status of non-state institutions implying public funding toward an integrated system of ECEC services (increased collaboration between public & private sector)
  • Recent trends: curriculum reforms (2000s)• Indicazioni, 2004: - prescriptive guidelines - emphasis on personalised education vs social and cultural participation of children - lack of consultation with stakeholders• Indicazioni, 2007: - strong cultural and pedagogical framework - weaknesses: methodological tools - no time for experimentation• Atto di indirizzo, 2009 (D.P.R. 89/2009): - personalised vision of education > emphasis on the private rather than the public dimension on ECE - perspective of school readiness > acquisition of knowledge and behaviours for schooling (achievement of predetermined outcomes and objective evaluation) - compensatory interventions vs inclusion - efficient management of financial resources (less time for joint work) Increasingly instrumental approach to early childhood education in the context of neo-liberal influences
  • Future scenarios…• Increased governmental control (values determined from above) and less space for public consultation (values as result of negotiation processes)• Schoolification of early childhood education (SFP)• Weakening of collegiality (less time for joint work)• Achievement of predetermined outcomes become predominant on shared educational valuesFROM EDUCATIONAL VALUES TO ECONOMIC NECESSITIES  DEMOCRATIC deficit
  • “At the present time, more than any other time before, the possibilities of whatthe future of early childhood education could be are played out. We can choosewhether to accept the authoritarian turn undertaken by the current trends ofeducational reforms or to deny it, in name of the democratic values that gaveorigin to our pedagogical tradition. From this choice it will depend not only thefuture of early childhood education but also the future of our society. We candecide whether to accept a less democratic and equal society in name ofeconomic necessities or rather we can decide that only by sustaining a moredemocratic and inclusive society the conditions for the flourishing of sustainablegrowth can be created. In this particularly critical time our role as teachers,educators, researchers and policy-makers impose us to make a choice. In makingthis choice we need to reflect on the image of the child we bear in mind when wetalk about early childhood education. Is he/she a capable human being, who isable to give meaning and shape reality? Is he/she a citizen who is entitled to givea significant contribution to the future of our society? Or is he/she an incompletehuman being who needs to be educated in order to function well in an alreadygiven and increasingly competitive society?”
  • Arianna LazzariDipartimento di Scienze dell’Educazione arianna.lazzari2@unibo.it www.unibo.it