Resisting Neoliberalism: Professionalisation of Early Childhood Education and Care
International Journal of Elementary Education
Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2019, Pages: 1-10
Received: Dec. 20, 2018;
Accepted: Jan. 29, 2019;
Published: Feb. 25, 2019
Views 622 Downloads 255
Mary Moloney, Department Reflective Pedagogy of Early Childhood Studies, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland
Margaret Sims, School of Education, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
Antje Rothe, Institut Für Sonderpädagogik University of Hanover, Hanover, Germany
Cynthia Buettner, Department of Human Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, United States
Lisa Sonter, School of Education, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
Manjula Waniganayake, Department of Educational Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
María-José Opazo, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Pamela Calder, School of Applied Science, London South Bank University, London, United Kingdom
Sarah Girlich, Lakos, State Institute of Language Promotion in Early Childhood Education, Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
Despite the relevance of early childhood services to children, families and nation states, the sector is largely undervalued and under resourced and, is not recognised as an established profession. Using collaborative auto ethnography, researchers from six different countries (Australia, Chile, England, Germany, Ireland and the United States) all members of the EECERA Professionalisation Special Interest Group (P-SIG) share their reflections on the professionalisation of early childhood. While professionalisation is associated with discretionary decision making that is premised upon an accepted body of knowledge, neoliberalism imposes constraints from on top, identifying through various forms of curricula, legislated standards, and policies what is appropriate and desirable practice. As a consequence, early childhood personnel are restricted in their professional agency and, their work is characterised by tension, as they strive to balance external expectations from a neoliberal stance and their own perspectives that prioritise a children’s rights perspective. This paper questions how the sector manages the constraints imposed on it in a neoliberal political and social world. It calls upon those in the profession to resist neoliberalism and, to make a stand in terms of what is considered best practice. It further argues that ongoing debate is required as to the boundaries of what would be called the early childhood profession: considerations of ways in which the different sectors (education, health, and welfare) contribute to a holistic approach in working with children balanced against the requirement for a profession to have an identified and discrete body of knowledge. The implications of this for professionalisation of early childhood are widespread and, worthy of debate. While the inclusion of different sectors for example, addresses the holistic nature of early childhood work, it risks creating a broad and diffused knowledge base that might make it difficult to claim professionalisation. We hope that this paper contributes to reenergizing conversations on the professionalisation of the early childhood sector.
Resisting Neoliberalism: Professionalisation of Early Childhood Education and Care, International Journal of Elementary Education.
Vol. 8, No. 1,
2019, pp. 1-10.
Roopnarine, J. L., Johnson, J., Quinn, S., & Patte, M. (2018a). International perspectives on early childhood education. In J. L. Roopnarine, J. Johnson, S. Quinn, & M. Patte (Eds.), Handbook of international perspectives on early childhood education (pp. 1 - 10). New York and London: Routledge.
Moloney, M. (2015). Untangling the knots - [k]not easy. Professional identity in the early childhood care and education Sector. A paper prepared for the symposium, Early Educational Alignment: Reflecting on Context, Curriculum and Pedagogy.
Moloney, M., & Pope, J. (2015). Where to now for early childhood care and education (ECCE) graduates? A study of the experiences of Irish BA ECCE degree graduates. Education 3-13, 43 (2), 142-152.
Pramling Samuelsson, I., Kulti, A., & Pramling, N. (2018). Conceptualizing early childhood education and care for a global community. New directions for policy initiatives. In J. L. Roopnarine, J. Johnson, S. Quinn, & M. Patte (Eds.), (Eds.). (2018). Handbook of international perspectives on early childhood education. New York and London: Routledge. (pp. 423 - 429). New York and London: Routledge.
Osgood, J. (2010). Reconstructing professionalism in ECEC: The case for the "critically reflective emotional professional". Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, 30 (2), 119 – 133.
Sims, M., Alexander, E., Nislin, M., Pedey, K., Tausere-Tiko, L., & Sajaniemi, N. (2018). Infant and toddler educare: a challenge to neoliberalism. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 8 (1), 1 – 8.
Sims, M., Alexander, E., Pedey, K., & Tausere-Tiko, L. (2018). What discourses relating to the purpose of early childhood are shaping the work of early childhood practitioners in three different contexts: UK, Bhutan and the South Pacific? Journal of Education and Learning, 7 (2), 223 – 236.
Waniganayake, M., & Sims, M. (2018). Becoming critically reflective: Australian educational leaders effecting change as street-level bureaucrats In A Neoliberalist Policy Landscape. In J. L. Roopnarine, J. Johnson, S. Quinn, & M. Patte (Eds.), Handbook of International perspectives on early childhood education (pp. 230 - 247). New York: Routledge Press.
Ashcraft, K., Muhr, S., Rennstam, J., & Sullivan, K. (2012). Professionalization as a branding activity: Occupational identity and the dialectic of inclusivity-exclusivity. Gender, Work & Organization, 19 (5), 467 – 488.
Havnes, A. (2018). ECEC professionalisation - challenges of developing professional standards. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 26 (5), 637 – 673.
Griffiths, M., Brooks, D., & Corkill, J. (2010). Defining the security professional: Definition through a body of knowledge Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 3rd Australian Security and Intelligence Conference Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA.
Rogers, W., & Ballantyne, A. (2010). Towards a practical definition of professional behaviour. Journal of Medical Ethics, 36 (4), 250 – 254.
Evans, A. (2010). Professional discretion in welfare services: beyond street-level bureaucracy. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Sims, M., Waniganayake, M., & Hadley, F. (2017). Educational leadership – an evolving role. Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, 20 pages downloaded.
Moloney, M., & McKenna, I. (2017). Is it time to establish an early years council? Education Matters Year Book.
Lipsky, M. (2010). Street level bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the individual in public services. 30th Anniversary Expanded Edition New York, NY The Russell Sage Foundation.
Monbiot, G. (2017). Out of the wreckage. A new politics for an age of crisis. London: Verso.
Vintimilla, C. D. (2014). Neoliberal fun and happiness in early childhood education.
Monbiot, G. (2016). Neoliberalsim - the ideology at the root of all our problems. The Guardian, April 15, 8 pages downloaded.
Walkerdine, V., & Bansel, P. (2010). Neo-liberalism, work and subjectivity: Towards a more complex account. In M. Wetherell & C. Talpade Mohanty (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Identities (pp. 492–507). London: SAGE Publications.
Lloyd, E., & Penn, H. (2012). Childcare markets: Can they deliver an equitable service? Bristol: Polity Press.
Penn, H (2012). Childcare markets: do they work? in eds E. Lloyd and H. Penn (2012) Childcare Markets: Do They Deliver an Equitable Service. Bristol. Policy Press, 19-42.
Davies, B., & Bansel, P. (2007). Neoliberalism and education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 20 (3), 247 – 259.
Giroux, H. (2015). Dangerous thinking in the age of the new authoritarianism. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.
Sims, M. (2017). Neoliberalism and early childhood. Cogent Education, 4, 1365411.
Sims, M., Mulhearn, G., Grieshaber, S., & Sumsion, J. (2015). Australian national ECEC reforms, with a focus on the national quality framework and the national quality standard. Expert report for the German Youth Institute. Munich: Deutsches Jugendinstitut e. V (German Youth Institute).
Sims, M., & Waniganayake, M. (2015a). The performance of compliance in early childhood: Neoliberalism and nice ladies. Global Studies of Childhood, 5 (3), 333 – 345.
Moss, P. (2006). Structures, understandings and discourses: possibilities for re-envisioning the early childhood worker. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 7 (1), 30-41.
Rouse, E., & Spradbury, G. (2016). The role of the educational leader in long day care – how do they perceive their role? Early Child Development and Care, 186 (3), 497-508.
Skattebol, J., Adamson, E., & Woodrow, C. (2016). Revisioning professionalism from the periphery. Early Years, 36 (2), 116 – 131.
Roberts-Holmes, G. (2015). The ‘datafication’ of early years pedagogy: ‘if the teaching is good, the data should be good and if there’s bad teaching, there is bad data’. Journal of Education Policy, 30 (3), 302–315.
Chalke, J. (2013). Will the early years professional please stand up? Professionalism in the early childhood workforce in England Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 14 (3), 212 – 222.
Cooke, G., & Lawton, K. (2008). For love or money: Pay, progression and professionalisation in the ‘Early Years’ Workforce. London: Institute for Public Policy Research.
Hulme, R., McKay, J., & Cracknell, D. (2015). From commissar to auctioneer? The changing role of directors in managing children's services in a period of austerity. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 43 (1), 77 – 91.
Oberhuemer, P. (2005). Conceptualising the early childhood pedagogue: Policy approaches and issues of professionalism. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 13 (1), 5-16.
Furedi, F. (2017). What's happened to the university? A sociological exploration of its infantilisation. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Hunkin, E. (2016). Deploying Foucauldian genealogy: Critiquing ‘quality’ reform in early childhood policy in Australia. Power and Education, 8 (1), 35-53.
Hunkin, E. (2017). Whose quality? The (mis)uses of quality reform in early childhood and education policy. Journal of Education Policy, 33 (4), 443-456.
Sims, M. (2015). Social justice, children’s needs and rights: an approach to planning. Journal of Curriculum and Teaching, 4 (2), 122 – 129.
Vandenbroeck, M, Lenaerts, K and Beblav ý. (2018). Benefits of early childhood education and care and the conditions for obtaining them. EENEE Analytical Report No.32. Prepared for the European Commission.
Pinar, W. (2011). Allegories of the present: Curriculum development in a culture of narcissism and presentism. Paper presented as part of the Pinar Seminar Series 2011–2012, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 2016. Call for tenders: International Early Learning Study.
Pardo, M., & Woodrow, C. (2014). Improving the quality of early childhood education in Chile: Tensions between public policy and teacher discourses over the schoolarisation of early childhood education. International Journal of Early Childhood, 46 (1), 101 – 115.
Schaack, D., Tarrant, K., Boller, K., & Trout, K. (2012). Quality rating and improvement systems: Frameworks for early care and education systems change. In S. L. Kagan & K. Kauerz (Eds.), Early childhood systems: Transforming early learning (pp. 71 - 86). New York: Teachers College.
Heckman, J. (2014). Going forward wisely. Paper presented at the The White House Summit on Early Education, Washington D. C.
Ring, E, Mhic Mhahuna, M, Moloney, M, Hayes, Breatnach, B et al. (2016). An examination of concepts of school readiness among parents and educators in Ireland. Dublin: Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
Urban, M, and Swadener, B. B. (2017). Democratic accountability and contextualised systemic evaluation. A comment on the OECD initiative to launch an International Early Learning Study (IELS). International Critical Childhood Policy Studies Journal, 6 (1), 6-18.
Moss, P. (2013). Beyond the investment narrative. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 14 (4), 370 – 372.
Centre on the Developing Child. (2014). Enhancing and practicing executive function skills with children from infancy to adolescence.
Johnson, J., & Patte, M. (2018). United States perspectives on early childhood care and education. In J. L. Roopnarine, J. Johnson, S. Quinn, & M. Patte (Eds.), Handbook of International perspectives on early childhood education (pp. 379 - 391). New York & London: Routledge.
Fernald, L. C. H., Prado, E., Kariger, P., & Raikes, A. (2017). A toolkit for measuring early childhood development in low- and middle-income countries. Retrieved from Washington DC.
Edwards, S. (2009). Early childhood education and care: a sociocultural approach. Castle Hill, NSW: Pademelon Press.
Black, M. M., Walker, S. P., Fernald, L. C. H., Andersen, C. T., DiGirolamo, A. M., Lu, C., . for the Lancet Early Childhood Development Series Steering Committee. (2017). Advancing early childhood development: from Science to Scale 1. Early childhood development coming of age: science through the life course. Lancet, 389, 77 – 90.
Britto, P. R., Lye, S. J., Proulx, K., Yousafzai, A. K., Matthews, S. G., Vaivada, T., Bhutta, Z. A. (2017). Nurturing care: promoting early childhood development. Lancet, 389 (10064), 91-102.
Sims, M., & Brettig, K. (2018). Early childhood education and early childhood development – do the differences matter?. Power and Education, 0 (0), 1 – 13.
Moloney, M., & McCarthy, E. (2018). Intentional leadership for effective inclusion in early childhood education and care. London: Routledge.
Hil, R. (2015). Selling students short. why you won't get the university education you deserve. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Brogaard Clausen, S. (2015). Schoolification or early years democracy? A cross-curricular perspective from Denmark and England. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 16 (4), 355-373.
Lin, A. (2015). Researcher positionality. In F. Hult & D. Cassels Johnson (Eds.), Research methods in language policy and planning: a practical guide (pp. 21 - 32). Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Starr, L. (2010). The use of autoethnography in educational research: Locating who we are in what we do. Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education: Revue canadienne des jeunes chercheures et chercheurs en éducation, 3 (1), 9 pages downloaded.
Rappaport, J. (2008). Beyond participant observation: Collaborative ethnography as theoretical innovation. Collaborative Anthropologies, 1, 1 – 31.
McCabe, M., & Cultural Connections LLC. (2014). Collaborative ethnography: Intersection of knowledge, power and emotion. International Journal of Business Anthropology, 5 (1), 11 – 17.
Boughton, B. (2013). Popular education and the ‘party line’. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 11 (2), 239 – 257.
Glaser, B. (1965). The constant comparative method of qualitative data analysis. Social Problems, 12 (4), 436 – 445.
Le Roux, C. S. (2017). Exploring rigour in autoethnographic research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 20 (2), 195-207.
Birt, L., Scott, S., Cavers, D., Campbell, C., & Walter, F. (2016). Member checking: a tool to enhance trustworthiness or merely a nod to validation? doi: 10.1177/1049732316654870.
Lapadat, J. C. (2017). Ethics in autoethnography and collaborative autoethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 23 (8), 589-603.
Ellis, C. (2007). Telling secrets, Revealing lives. Relational ethics in research with intimate others. Qualitative Inquiry 13 (1), 3-29.
World Health Organisation and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. (2018). Nurturing care for early childhood development. A global framework for action and results. Consultation document.
Richter, L., Daelmans, B., Lombardi, J., Heymann, J., Lopez Boo, F., Behrman, J. R., with the Paper 3 Working Group and the Lancet Early Childhood Development Series Steering Committee. (2017). Investing in the foundation of sustainable development: pathways to scale up for early childhood development. The Lancet, 389 (103 - 118).