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Title: Lessons from the field : what can we learn from early childhood education practices of settings in New Zealand and Wales?
Author: McNerney, Karen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 4160
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2012
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The statutory early childhood curriculum in England, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) has been described as a 'ready for school' model in which children are viewed as human 'becomings' - in terms of what they can do for society. This research project is underpinned by the premise that there is no one view of childhood but many views that are bound by context and involves a study of the early childhood curricula of settings in New Zealand (Te Whariki) and Wales (the Foundation Phase). Both are based on sociocultural theory, a term developed by psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1978; 1986). They can also be defined as 'ready to learn' models in which learning dispositions are foregrounded over early formal learning. The research was conducted as an interpretivist study using ethnographic methods. This methodology accepts that reality is subjectively conceived through a connection between the researcher and the field, and that any truths revealed are partial and situated. Fieldwork was carried out for three weeks in a kindergarten in New Zealand and one week in a school in Wales in order to understand the culture of each setting and to provide evidence-informed insights and contextualized knowledge. Data were collected through participant observation and the use of photography. They were analysed using three sociocultural planes: community, interpersonal and personal (Rogoff, 2003). The study concludes that enculturation and mediation enabled the intentional development of learning dispositions, which were enhanced trhoguh extended learning periods, provocation and extensive communication, and that the sociocultural environment influenced the children's self-identity as capable and confident learners. The research maintains that a sociocultural play-based curriculum affords children the right to a childhood exempt from the pressures of 'becoming' whilst also promoting learning dispositions such as self-regulation that are likely to have an impact on academic achievement at school. These findings ahve the potential to influence practitioners in the independent sector at a time when exemption from EYFS has been announced.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education