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Reconceptualising early childhood education : a child-appropriate practice.

Sacco, Marika Gatt (2012) Reconceptualising early childhood education : a child-appropriate practice. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The Early Childhood Education and Care policy (ECEC) document published in Malta in 2006 regulates national early childhood education. Concerns have been raised as to whether this policy adequately represents major stakeholders in the field. The aim of this thesis was to ascertain the relationship between the ECEC document and the voices of children, parents and early years practitioners (EYP), if any. Subject to a disparity being found, a secondary aim was to use reconceptualist principles to make recommendations towards modifying aspects of this policy. Data pertaining to the views of stakeholders in Maltese early childhood education were collected from children, parents and EYP. The setting was three local primary schools and the subject was the participants' views of early childhood education in Malta. Circle time methodology was used for data collection with children. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were used to collect data from parents and EYP respectively. The participants' voices were elicited from the data using grounded theory approach. The ECEC document was analyzed using principles from Critical Discourse Analysis. Findings from child participants were then juxtaposed against aspects of the ECEC document. The main findings of this work included children's concerns about their experience of early years education, the failure of grown-ups to listen, issues of friendship and camaraderie at school and play. Parents expressed concerns about most things digital, the disneyfication of childhood and a perceived deterioration of traditional values. EYP stressed their exclusion from participation and educational gazing. Juxtaposition of the ECEC with the concerns of children demonstrated a considerable mismatch between the concerns of children and the text of the policy. A framework of recommendations, termed child-appropriate practice, was formulated in an attempt to readdress this. In conclusion, this work demonstrated a tenuous relationship between participants and the ECEC with poor representation of the voices and agency of primary stakeholders. Child-Appropriate Practice may ameliorate aspects of early childhood education in Malta, but additional research in the field is necessary.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.574675
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2016 15:13
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2016 15:13
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15006

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