International Perspectives Essay

1119 words - 5 pages

An increased awareness of the implications of quality experiences in the early years

has resulted in a growing interest in early childhood education. Subsequently, this

has generated an interest in differing examples of early childhood curriculums.

The following essay will critique the international approach, Te Whãriki and compare

the New Zealand educational system to the Early Years Foundation Stage

Curriculum of the United Kingdom. The essay will include reflection upon the

similarities and differences of these approaches upon my settings practice.

Today’s society has recognised that significant investment in early year’s provision

has valuable long term effects on young children, families and the wider

community. Cited in (Papatheodorou and Moyles, p1) As a result government

intervention has increased as policy makers attempt to raise standards and improve

the quality of early years education. However these policies have prompted much

debate such as child centred versus outcome based or play versus instruction.

Headlines such as “Too much too soon” or “The nappy curriculum”, (Tasker, 2011)

demonstrate societies conflicting views on what is best for children, generating an

interest in comparisons between other countries policies and programs.

Early year’s provision is different from country to country depending upon that

countries beliefs and goals of provision. Countries such as Sweden originally

provided child care to enable mothers back into the work force resulting in

environments set up to take over as a trustworthy adult while parents went back to

work. Whilst this too is a goal of the United Kingdom provision there is also an

emphasis on better preparing children from low income families for success in

school. These two differing ideas result in the Swedish system providing more of a

whole child approach in contrast to a more academic approach of the United

Kingdom. (Cochran, p67) Interestingly the United Kingdom, France and United

States of America are criticised for continuing to see early year’s education as a

utilitarian system of preparing for entering the workforce. Whilst the Nordic countries,

Russia, Japan, Asia and New Zealand it is instead seen as having intrinsic value in

its own right. (Ellyat, 2008)

These contrasting approaches result in differing early year’s provision from country

to country. As previously suggested The United Kingdoms’ Early Years Foundation

Stage Curriculum (Department for Education, 2012) and New Zealands’ Te Whãriki

Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1996) have differing ideas in their approach

however further research indicates that they also have many similarities.

Both the Te Whãriki (Ministry of Education, 1996) and Early Years Foundation Stage

Curriculums (Department for Education, 2012) contain admirable statements about

high quality early education giving children the best start in life. The Curriculums are

specifically...

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