Echoes of the past: examining the role of historical narratives in shaping the accepted practices of early childhood education

Year: 2013

Author: Hamm, Catherine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
Early childhood education is heavily weighted with discourses of care and is also interwoven with the history of early childhood education.The accepted practices of early childhood education have a deep connection to historical narratives, interwoven with the history of early childhood education. In examining the historical narratives of early childhood education, underpinned by an ethic of care it is also important to consider how these discourses have shaped the existing narratives of early childhood, and in what form, if any, they contribute to creating new narrative spaces for early childhood pedagogy and curriculum. This presentation draws on a doctoral study, Beyond the Master Narrative: Making Identity Visible in Early Childhood Education. The study, examined the ways in which three early childhood teachers in Victoria, Australia constructed their professional identity. Providing a window into the historical narratives of early childhood education and care, this presentation traces the threads of the historical narratives that have contributed to the 'taken-for-granted' practices of early childhood pedagogy and curriculum design. This process makes visible the ways in which each participant has chosen to appropriate or reject aspects of the narratives, and the extent to which they have contributed to the construction of their professional teaching identity. According to Bakhtin, all narratives and discourses are inter-textual and contain elements of what has gone before, therefore acknowledging that many of the practices of early childhood education have been shaped by narratives and discourses.The historical narratives of early childhood serve to create images of children, teachers, families and society. It is these narratives that have influenced the ways in which early childhood has been positioned and in turn positioned the field over time. By laying open the historical narratives of early childhood education, an opportunity is created for the early childhood field to explore and consider a wider range of contemporary narratives.

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