SAGE Journal Articles
Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.
Abstract: With the importance of the early years of a child’s life to their learning and development, it is important that early childhood educators are skilled, reflective professionals who have the ability to actively support the learning of all children. Using a capability approach to human development as an evaluative framework, this article explores how early childhood educators across three early childhood services understand and take up the challenge of catering for diversity in children’s learning. Educators with a social justice outlook are acknowledged as believing in the capacity of all children to succeed despite the circumstances of their lives or their abilities. While there are many real strengths that the educators in this study are saying, observing, reflecting on and doing, none of the educators mentioned children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds as targets of their social justice work. The call is for educators to be more reflective of themselves and their practice to bring into focus the ‘unchallenged’ related to decision-making and professional judgements about programs and pedagogy, the ‘unseen’ such as children from underprivileged backgrounds, and the ‘under-valued’ being their own capabilities or those of their colleagues that remain untapped in their social justice work in relation to young children’s learning and development. This research aims to raise awareness of the need for educators to consider the context within which they work and what this may mean for the experiences and situations of the children with whom they work.
Learning Objective: 4.5 Evaluate the possible benefits of early childhood education, 4.7 Give examples of risk factors and protective factors during early childhood, 4.8 Apply knowledge of early childhood to recommend guidelines for social work engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
Abstract: This article conceptualizes assessment in early childhood education as a moral practice using Amartya Sen’s capability approach and Thomas A Schwandt’s practical hermeneutic approach to assessment and evaluation. After describing the moral connection Sen makes between development and assessment, Schwandt’s conceptualization of evaluation is presented as reframing it from a technical practice to one based on practical moral knowledge, having moral significance for teachers and children. Assessment as a moral practice must be done from two perspectives: from the learner’s perspective to assess children’s agency in guiding their own learning, and from the environment’s perspective to assess the opportunities for learning afforded children by the environment. Balancing assessment from these two perspectives is a moral challenge for teachers. The final section examines the recent work by Margaret Carr and Jennifer Keys Adair, who offer new approaches to assessment in early childhood that incorporate methods consistent with the capability approach and Schwandt. The goal of the article is to outline a moral practice of assessment in early childhood education.
Learning Objective: 4.5 Evaluate the possible benefits of early childhood education, 4.8 Apply knowledge of early childhood to recommend guidelines for social work engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
Abstract: This article contributes to the literature in critical special education by examining the perspectives of early childhood educators on inclusion and inclusive education. Six early childhood educators were interviewed, and the interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis informed by Derridean deconstruction. Themes were identified across the interviews regarding the roles and relationships between educators, families, and children labeled with disabilities. These themes were clustered to form four overarching meta-themes highlighting axiomatic assumptions regarding expectations for inclusion: acceptance as advocacy, conformity as agency, othering as vulnerability, and knowledge as expertise. These meta-themes describe, in part, the regulatory practices that operate under the guise of “inclusion” in early childhood education to “normalize” children deemed to have deficits. To counter regulatory practices, we introduce the notion of relational inclusion as a generative, yet not unproblematic, alternative for reconceptualising the participation of learners. One goal of relational inclusion is to expand conventional notions of inclusion in ways that enable all children to participate and contribute to the culture of the classroom.
Learning Objective: 4.2 Summarize typical physical, cognitive and language, moral, personality and emotional, and social development during early childhood, 4.4 Analyze the roles of biology and the environment in creating development delays and disabilities.