1600-1630 - Arrival with Tea and Cake
1630-1730 - International Approaches to Early Childhood Education and Care – things aren’t always what they seem - Dr. Verity Campbell-Barr, Plymouth Institute of Education
1730-1830 - Cornwall and Devon Early Education AGM – ALL WELCOME!!
The international sharing of ideas on how to care for and educate children has a long history that is well illustrated by considering how the ideas of many early childhood education and care (ECEC) pioneers (e.g. Montessori, Froeblel, Malaguzzi and Vygotsky) have spread across the globe. The international interest in, and sharing of ideas on, ECEC has perhaps never been greater, motivated by an interest in supporting children’s holistic development. Whilst I would not want to dispute the benefits of ECEC for children’s development or question the advantages that can come from sharing ideas on ECEC internationally, I would suggest an analysis of whether there is a globalisation of ECEC. Starting by considering large scale international research on ECEC, I question whether there is a risk of a convergence of ideas on ECEC that neglects the opportunity for locally sourced solutions to local problems. I will illustrate my example by drawing on the International Early Learning Study (OECD 2015), dubbed the ECEC PISA to consider whether the ideas of how to care for and education children are increasingly shaped by limited constructions of ECEC as ‘readying’ the child for the next life stage. I will contrast the International Early Learning Study with the history of Reggio Emilia, whereby the development of ECEC was driven by the local history, culture and need. Drawing on my experiences of visiting Reggio Emilia I will consider the appeal of the Reggio Approach for those involved in ECEC, whereby its democratic values appear to be an antidote to the notion of readiness. However, I question whether the democratic values of the Reggio Approach risk being another form of regulatory gaze that determines what ECEC is and how it should be.
Verity is a lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Plymouth University where she is involved in teaching on both undergraduate and post-graduate courses. She comes from a policy background having worked for a local authority and the Policy Studies Institute. In both of these roles she has been involved in researching issues relating to the supply and demand of early years and childcare services. More recently, in her role at Plymouth, she has focussed her research on the quality of early years and childcare services and writing about the position of the child in early childhood education and care policy developments. She has undertaken projects on exploring understandings of quality for working with two year olds and European comparisons on the skills needed to be a ‘good’ practitioner. She is currently writing about quality and the role of the workforce in the early years and has developed a particular interest in the position of emotional competences for early years practitioners. (More details on Verity’s research and publications can be found here: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/verity-campbell-barr).