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Re-situating Canadian Early Childhood Education

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Edited By Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw and Larry Prochner

This book presents research exploring the potential for postfoundational theories to revitalize discussions in early childhood education. In the past two decades, postfoundation theories (e.g., postmodern, poststructural, feminist, postcolonial, etc.) have revolutionized the field of early childhood education, but at the same time, little has been written about the value and potential of this movement within the context of Canada. Postfoundational theories have the potential to disrupt normalizing early childhood education discourses that create and maintain social inequities, and to respect differences and diversities. Given the importance of diversity in Canada, it seems relevant to explore further how postfoundational theories might transform early childhood education.
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1 Resituating Early Childhood Education: IntroductionLarry Prochner & Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw

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Introduction

Larry Prochner & Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw

This book presents possibilities for resituating the theory and practice of Canadian early childhood education from a normative, developmental view to one grounded in postfoundational theory. While the conceptual framework guiding thinking in early childhood education (ECE) has shifted over the past twenty-five years, government policy guiding programs, services, and approaches to curriculum continues to draw largely upon a normative discourse. This chapter discusses educational change within the field in relation to the resilience of core ideas, presents key concepts in the normative and postfoundational discourses, and outlines the chapters that follow.

The term “reconceptualist” was used in the field of curriculum theory beginning in the 1970s to identify theorists who were dissatisfied with the how-to, technical-rational focus of what were called “traditional approaches.” As described by Pinar (1975), reconceptualists “tend to study not ‘change in behavior’ or ‘decision making in the classroom,’ but matters of temporality, transcendence, consciousness, and politics” (p. xi).In the 1980s scholars in ECE who were critical of traditional curriculum approaches adopted a similar stance, marking the start of the reconceptualist movement in the ECE field.1 The movement in ← 1 | 2 → ECE coincided with and was influenced by several events. One was the publication of the first edition of the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), edited by Bredekamp in 1986, planned as a “tool for early childhood professionals” (Bredekamp, 1986, p. 56) to disseminate...

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