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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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9 Children’s Representations of Cultural Scripts in Play: Facilitating Transition from Home to Preschool in an Intercultural Early Learning Program for Refugee ChildrenAnna Kirova

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Facilitating Transition from Home to Preschool in an Intercultural Early Learning Program for Refugee Children

Anna Kirova

The focus of this chapter is the role of play as a cultural activity in refugee children’s transition from home to preschool. The study challenged the “culture-free” view of play as a means for development of a “universal” child. It provided an alternative view of play as cultural leading activity in the development of a culturally situated child based on the work of Vygotsky (1978) and Leont’ev (1981). These theorists frame a community-initiated project that aimed at providing learning opportunities in both children’s home languages and English so that linguistic and cultural continuity as well as smooth transition from home to school cultures was provided for the children. The children and the first-language facilitators spoke four languages in the classroom (i.e., Kurdish, Somali, Sudanese Arabic, and English). The pilot study, using participatory action and learning methodology, demonstrated that the intercultural approach to education could open possibilities for new directions in early childhood practice in which a hybrid space is open for children and adults who share it to bring together their knowledges and ways of being in the world. In this space, play is a vehicle for preserving cultural group identities while creating a common culture.

Immigrant and refugee populations in Canada are growing fast. Between 2001 and 2006, those populations grew by 13.6%, four times faster than the Canadian-born population (Statistics Canada, 2006). Research on immigrant...

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