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Future Directions for work in Early Childhood Education and Care Peter Moss Thomas Coram Research Unit Institute of Education University of London.

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Presentation on theme: "Future Directions for work in Early Childhood Education and Care Peter Moss Thomas Coram Research Unit Institute of Education University of London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Future Directions for work in Early Childhood Education and Care Peter Moss Thomas Coram Research Unit Institute of Education University of London

2 Themes Current condition of the ECEC workforce Why? The case for change Future directions

3 Current condition of the ECEC workforce Split systems –‘childcare’ (often provided as a private commodity for working parents) –‘early education’ (as universal public good) –‘family support’ (targeted) Split structures: –Provision –Funding –Workforce

4 Split workforce – and hierarchical PayQualifications (Per hour)(Degree + upper secondary) Teacher £ % Childcare worker £ % Family day carer £ % (UK Labour Force survey )

5 Current condition of the ECEC workforce “[The situation of staff and levels of training in ECEC across the countries covered] is mixed, with acceptable professional education standards being recorded in the Nordic countries but only in early education in most other countries...Levels of in-service training vary greatly across countries and between the education and child care sectors” (OECD Starting Strong II)

6 Current condition of the ECEC workforce Some exceptions – integrated system, integrated ECEC graduate profession: Nordic countries New Zealand Slovenia ??Spain

7 Why? Current understandings What is our image of… Young children: immature, undeveloped EC services: substitute home  a place for applying ‘human technologies’ to achieve predetermined outcomes Parents: paying ‘consumers’ of ‘childcare’ EC workers as substitute mother  low level technician

8 Why? Paradigm an overarching system of ideas, values and beliefs by which people see and organize the world in a coherent way ECEC situated in particular paradigm - positivistic/modernistic…with particular values and beliefs

9 Paradigm Values: certainty and mastery; linearity and predetermined outcomes; objectivity and universality Beliefs: ability of science to reveal the world’s true nature one right answer for every question EC workers can be trained in right answers – low level technicians

10 The case for change 1.Equality: why should young children have a less qualified workforce? 2.Quality in services: “A strong link exists between the training and support of staff – including appropriate pay and conditions – and the quality of ECEC services” (OECD Starting Strong II) 3.Quality in employment: Need to promote “quality – of employment, social policy and industrial employment…to improve human and social capital” (EC Integrated guidelines for growth and jobs) 4.The work demands it: new understandings require a better educated and more integrated workforce

11 New understandings EC institution as a: public space/forum - citizens (young & old) meet a place of many, many possibilities a place of ethical and democratic practice – democracy as a fundamental value EC worker as a: democratic and reflective professional critical thinking, researcher & experimenter co-constructor of meaning, identity, values – always in relation with others

12 Many possibilities Collective production of knowledges, values and identities Collective researching, e.g. children’s learning processes, ‘outcomes’ Building solidarity and offering support Cultural sustainability and renewal Economic development and activity Promoting gender and other equalities Practice of democracy and active citizenship  Some predetermined - some not

13 Democracy as a fundamental value “Democracy forms the foundation of the pre- school. For this reason, all pre-school activity should be carried out in accordance with fundamental democratic values” Swedish pre-school curriculum

14 Democratic and reflective professional Competencies Communicative (in many ‘languages’) Contextualised judgement Analytic and reflective Connect personal and professional Connect theories and practice Work with diversity and complexity Cross-professional and team work

15 Democratic and reflective professional Values Dialogue and democracy Researching and experimenting Listening, openness to otherness Uncertainty and provisionality Subjectivity Border crossing and curious Multiple perspectives

16 Dialogue “[Dialogue] is of absolute importance. It is an idea of dialogue not as an exchange but as a process of transformation where you lose absolutely the possibility of controlling the final result. And it goes to infinity, it goes to the universe, you can get lost. And for human beings nowadays, and for women particularly, to get lost is a possibility and a risk” Carlina Rinaldi, In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia

17 Researching “ Research can and should take place as much in the classroom and by teachers as in the university and by ‘academics’…The word ‘research’, in this sense, leaves the scientific laboratories, thus ceasing to be a privilege of the few (in universities and other designated places) to become the stance, the attitude with which teachers approach the sense and meaning of life” Carlina Rinaldi, In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia

18 Uncertainty “[Uncertainty is a] quality that you can offer, not only a limitation...You have to really change your being, to recognise doubt and uncertainty, to recognise your limits as a resource, as a place of encounter, as a quality. Which means that you accept that you are unfinished, in a state of permanent change, and your identity is in the dialogue.” Carlina Rinaldi, In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia

19 Multiple perspectives Recognise importance of paradigm & different paradigms  different perspectives Increasing ECEC research and practice within ‘postmodern’ paradigm – invisible in policy Decide which paradigm to choose…but also respect and dialogue with those choosing other paradigmatic position

20 ‘Postmodern’ paradigm “[The postmodern paradigm] values what the paradigm of modernity finds problematic: complexity and multiplicity, subjectivity and context, provisionality and uncertainty…This paradigm recognises that any phenomenon – early childhood education and care, for example - has multiple meanings, any knowledge is perspectival, all experience is subject to interpretation.” Gunilla Dahlberg & Peter Moss

21 Future directions for ECEC workforce No change – not desirable, not sustainable Incremental change (e.g. graduate leadership, gradual rise in non-graduate qualification levels) – not desirable, ?sustainable Major systemic change – in understandings & structures…towards a democratic reflective ECEC professional

22 Future directions Systemic change 1.Restructure workforce around a graduate 0-6 profession What profession? Early years teacher …Pedagogue…?? What proportion? 50-60%(DK, SW)  100% (NZ) What level? Bachelors or Masters? Others? upper secondary level

23 How specialised? specialist: separate education and identity (e.g. NZ) 2.Educator of children & young people with 0-6 identity: part generic education, part specialist (e.g. Sweden) 3.0 to 100 worker: mainly generic education, some specialisation (e.g. Denmark)

24 Future directions 2. Continuous Professional Development for all Pedagogical documentation Pedagogical support (pedagogistas) Higher degrees Formal research

25 Pedagogical documentation Practice and learning processes: made visible subject to dialogue, reflection, interpretation – co- constructing meaning for evaluation, researching, planning, CPD “An extraordinary tool for dialogue, for exchange, for sharing. For Malaguzzi it means the possibility to discuss and to dialogue ‘everything with everyone’…being able to discuss real, concrete things – not just theories or words” (Alfredo Hoyuelos)

26 Future directions 3.Adequate public funding Well qualified workforce requires sustained public funding of services; parents cannot pay Public expenditure on ECEC services: Denmark=2% of GDP; Sweden=1.7% UK=0.5%; US=0.4% Fund services directly

27 Future directions 4. Farewell to ‘childcare’ ‘Care’ workforce always devalued and disadvantaged ‘Care’ is important as an ethic in all services – but not as a basis for organising services Farewell to ‘childcare’ & ‘childcare services’…welcome to ‘education in its broadest sense’ (social pedagogy) & multi- purpose ‘children’s centres’

28 Providers Mixed economy of providers: communes, not for profit (many kinds)…??for profit Can for profit providers: Adopt democracy as a fundamental value? Provide EC services as ‘public spaces’? Work collaboratively? Make a profit?

29 In conclusion [The early childhood worker needs to be] more attentive to creating possibilities than pursuing predefined goals… [to be] removed from the fallacy of certainties, [assuming instead] responsibility to choose, experiment, discuss, reflect and change, focusing on the organisation of opportunities rather than the anxiety of pursuing outcomes, and maintaining in her work the pleasure of amazement and wonder.” Aldo Fortunati,The Education of Young Children as a Community Project

30 Cameron, C. and Moss, P. (2007) Care Work in Europe: Current Understandings and Future Directions. London: Routledge Dahlberg, G., Moss, P. and Pence, A. (2007, 2 nd ed) Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care. London: Routledge Dahlberg, G. and Moss, P. (2005) Ethics and Politics in Early Childhood Education. London: Routledge Fortunati,A. (2006) The Education of Young Children as a Community Project (English version available from Children in Scotland, 5 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh EH2 4RG) Moss, P. (2007) Bringing politics into the nursery. ery Rinaldi, C. (2006) In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia. London: RoutledgeFalmer


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