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Early childhood education: Economy and pedagogy in a perfect combination?
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education. (Studies in Curriculum, Teaching and Evaluation (SITE))ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5554-6041
2016 (English)In: Abstract book. Social Justice, Equality and Solidarity in Education. NERA 2016, 44th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association, Helsinki, 9-11 March, 2016, 2016, 225-226 p.Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research aim: The aim of this paper is to critically explore the discourse of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in European transnational policy documents and its potential implications for the Swedish (and Nordic) pre-school development. The point of departure for this study is one of the EU benchmarks in the Strategic Framework for Education and Training 2020 (ET 2020), with the purpose of collecting quantitative information for comparative analysis: “At least 95 % of children between the age of four and the age for starting compulsory primary education should participate in early childhood education”. The underlying assumption is that ECEC is “the essential foundation for successful lifelong learning, social integration, personal development and later employability” (European Commission 2011). In what ways do these economic and social expectations form a transnational policy discourse of ECEC? How can the Swedish Curriculum for the Preschool Lpfö 98 Revised 2010 be categorised in relation to curriculum typology, and what are the convergences and divergences in relation to European transnational policy? In the paper the Curriculum for Preschool is discussed in relation to Nordic welfare societies and curricula traditions.

Theoretical framework: Drawing on Nancy Fraser’s theory of ‘politics of need interpretation’ in Western welfare-state societies, the focus shifts from needs to discourses about needs (Fraser, 1989). According to Fraser, the politics of need interpretation ‘tend to be nested, connected to one another in ramified chains of “in-order-to” relations’ (Fraser, 1989). When the needs are enclaved and depoliticized into the official-economic arena, the result will be limitations in the chains of in-order-to relations for interpreting people’s needs. The official-economic institutions are, according to Fraser, the most important depoliticized enclaves, in which interpretations of needs must be exceeded in order to become ‘political’ in a discourse sense; that is, to become runaway needs. The Curriculum for Preschool is analysed as a field of tension between official-economic needs and Nordic preschool traditions within a framework of curriculum typology (Kelly 2009).

Expected conclusions: In the transnational policy arena, the pattern of in-order-to chain is clear: in order to increase the share of students in tertiary education there is a need for more students with an exam from upper secondary school; for reaching that goal, there is a need to decrease the share of early school leavers; for making that to happen there is an increased need for students to meet the requirements of compulsory school; and for that purpose, there is a need for a broad participation in ECEC, which is the last link in the chain. On a national level, a language of child's needs has largely been replaced by a language of learning (Biesta 2005). The emphasis on lifelong learning rests heavily on ECEC, with a curriculum as process and development in a mix of competencies and knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. 225-226 p.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Pedagogics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-51833OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-51833DiVA: diva2:916101
Conference
NERA 2016, 44th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association, Helsinki, 9-11 March
Available from: 2016-03-31 Created: 2016-03-31 Last updated: 2016-04-26Bibliographically approved

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