Theme – Rethinking Early Childhood Education
Essential Question: Is it Time to Rethink Western Cultural Dominance in Early Childhood Education and Care?
3 Hours CTLE available
Dr. Elena Nitecki, Mercy College
Dr. Helge Wasmuth, Mercy College
Currently, the field of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is experiencing new expectations and lasting changes. In many countries, the institutional early childhood experience has become much more academic – at the expense of play. Teacher-directed instruction has increased, while time spent on arts, music, and child-initiated activities has been reduced. New, more “rigorous” standards have been implemented and even very young children are now tested and assessed throughout the year often in great excess. ECEC is becoming increasingly affected by the damaging effects of what has been called the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM). This trend is viewed with concern. Many experts worry that such education policies do not reflect what is known about how young children learn best, and that these new curricula are not developmentally appropriate.
We will discuss key features and the far-reaching, often disastrous effects and and unintended consequences of GERM’s western-centric, accountability-focused, and academic approach to teaching young children. We will illustrate the impact of GERM on our field by reference to three current initiatives: The Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Education 2030 agenda, the World Bank’s World Development Report, and OECD’s International Early Learning and Child Well-Being Study (IELS).