Table of Contents
My focus is to critically analyze early childhood education (ECE) in feminist theory. I am going to discuss different perceptive of radical, liberal, and socialist feminism. The paper also focus on key concepts of childhood education and appropriately applied their analysis to a critical evaluation of the differing and changing context of childhood as well as indicated how they intend to resolve gender inequality in classroom. I have delved into concept of UNCRC towards gender inequality in the classroom and how it affects children’s everyday lives in various aspects. Besides that, I have drawn my conclusion from the research findings concerning gender inequality in classroom.
According to Estes (2004), education is a significant social activity for the society and individual that make it a crucial institution in any community. Early development stage is widely acknowledged as the most significant period during which a child experiences perpetual, socio-emotional, language, and cognitive development which he/she require for future social functioning and accomplishments. This gives the reason why this early stage needs to be handled with special attention and care. According to Estes (2004), early stage is remarkable period of development and growth in the children’s lives. Early stage of development is a period of tremendous potential and susceptibility. During this stage adequate care and protection are necessary to build a foundation for development and well-being of a child. Creating a favorable environment during the early stage, early childhood education (ECE) serves as a key factor (Adakinrotimi and Olowe 2016). ECE focus on promoting development during the early years of development. ECE involve any program formulated to promote language development, socio-emotional development, intellectual, learning and physical development of a child below eight years.
Although the significance of female education has been recognized around the globe, gender inequality in the education system persists in various parts of the world (Yokozeki n.d). The concept of gender includes unequal distribution of labour, power, and domination. Gender has emerged as essential issue in the current century. In the recent past, gender has been identified as crucial component in the concept of education and development. The discourse of gender started from feminist theories (Yokozeki n.d). Feminist theory has been widely used in various social sciences, including family studies, political science, and sociology (Lair and Erwin 153). But feminism and other social theories have not made significant effects on early childhood education. According to Lair and Erwin (2000), it hard to come across a professional journal that addresses the issue of early childhood education and incorporate some feminism notions particularly in the United States. In this case, feminist theories and ideas should offer valuable and unique insights into the classroom settings. This is because the number of families termed as non-traditional in the United States and around the globe has been increasing. Also, there is an increasing awareness of gender inequality in classrooms, and the fact that most of employees in the professional filed in the globe are women who work for poor benefits and low remunerations. To address the issue of childhood education one must focus on social class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation actively and openly in the classroom. Feminist theory offer valuable contributions into these constructs.
Feminist Views on Education
In this research study, feminism is defined as social construct and social framework that perceive the society as a male-dominated where women and their ideologies are mainly criticized, and where women are supposed to take lesser positions and societal power (Lair and Erwin 155). The feminist theory can be categorized into three different approaches which include radical, socialist, and liberal feminism (Yokozeki n.d).
Radical feminism focuses on the male monopolization of knowledge and culture as well as the sexual politics that occurs in everyday life in child development (Prioletta, 2015). Its concentration on education is equality between girls and boys, education system, and policy development in schools (Yokozeki n.d). Prioletta (2015) indicate that radical feminism perceives education as a necessary tool that can help women in the patriarchal society. But they do not trust the existing education system to accomplish its purpose. Instead they advocate for non-formal approach of education. Social feminism and radical feminism have some similarities when it comes to the role of schools and state. They perceive the state as the primary element that cultivates women’s subordination by defending the family as the key unit of the society (Yokozeki n.d). Such kind of an approach started from the liberation theory that was established in the Latin America. The objective is to transform society in the liberation theory where formal education is not taken as the primary even though they seek transformation in the education system. According to the radical feminist, the current education system is similar to a banking system where learners deposit knowledge gained from their teachers. Radical feminism stresses on power and patriarchy society (Yokozeki n.d: Prioletta, 2015). Patriarchy and power are the main aspects that oppress women both within the society and in education systems. Girls are subjected to a learning system that provide them will less teaching time and their contributions in classroom are mainly met with systematic criticism. Radical feminism also believes that girls are exposed to non-verbal and verbal abuse in their classrooms. Liberal feminism focus on enhancing the education systems while radical and socialist feminist concentrate on the fundamental transformation (Yokozeki n.d). This is because they believe the existing education system cannot be able to meet the need of women.
This theory is closely correlated with the neo-Marxist theory. It formulates questions concerning the society and power. It raises issues that are not addressed by the liberal feminism theory (Yokozeki n.d). According to liberal feminism, they also perceive state as an entity that closely and jointly work together with economic interest groups that aims at keeping women in subordinate position (Arnot, 2007). Socialist feminism takes education as an instrument that cannot solve the issues of gender in the society. In this case, school is considered to facilitate the current unequal situation. In this case, education in viewed as regressive element instead of progressive organisation that nurture the sexist culture. According to this school of thought, education system includes sexist presumptions, and gender separations of labour are developed within the context of education. The school curriculum serves to motivate gender inequalities (Yokozeki n.d). Socialist feminism also indicates that other factors such as race, class, religion, and ethnic affiliation also cause gender inequality in the society (Yokozeki n.d). But in the case of developing countries, gender inequality is intensified by income disparities and rural-urban differences.
Liberal feminism bases their argument from the notion that women must have equal rights and opportunities in the community. They consider discrimination and stereotyping as the factors that have put women in their position where they have fewer career opportunities, less chances of education, and other social opportunities in the society (Yokozeki n.d). Liberal feminism advocate for equal distribution of resources for women to gain equal share of education opportunities. This theory mainly focuses on three points which include sexual discrimination, sexual stereotyping and socialization, and equal opportunities. Liberal feminist think that success mainly depends on the intellectual ability of a person rather than the entire education system (Lorber n.d). In this regard, they do not seek to transform the society; instead they focus on enhancing the existing system. Liberal feminism considers education and school as significant tools that can foster equality in the society by initiating developments programs in the existing system. It tries to increase access. Liberal feminism perceives education and school as tools that attempts to improve women’s welfare.
Table 1 below gives a summary of feminist theories on education. According to Yokozeki (n.d), most of the feminist arguments do not address the problems of women subordination in various contexts. But they develop a significant platform for the analysis of gender issue in education. The idea behind feminist theory is vital in gender planning that aims at accomplishing gender equality (Arnot, 2007).
Table 1: Feminist notions on Development and Education
|Feminist Theory||Radical feminism||Social feminism||Liberal feminism|
|Related social theories||Liberation theory||Conflict theory|
Human capital theory
|Forces||Ideological force||Interconnection between economic and ideological forces||Economic forces|
|Main concepts||Sexual politics in schools|
Male monopolization of culture and knowledge
|Reproduction of social division and gender||Sex discrimination|
Socialization and sex stereotyping
|Orientation||Reality and descriptive oriented||Theoretically oriented||Implementation oriented|
|Schools taken as:||An institution where oppression of a particular group of people is carried out, for instance sexual harassment||An entity that perpetuate and reproduce the existing social classes||An agent for social mobilization|
|State perceived as:||One of the main agent that perpetuate female’s subordination||Work closely and jointly with economic interest groups to hold women in a subordinate position||Benevolent actor|
|Possible resolution (Methods)||Prioritizing women interest |
|Raising awareness |
Changing the curricula
|Increased access for women|
Better allocation of resources
|Possible solution (Orientation)||Single sex school|
Alternative education systems
|Existing school based||Existing school based|
According to Lair and Erwin (2000) language, ethnicity, gender, culture, sexual orientation, and social class are component of educational context. From feminist point of view, people of different culture, economic class, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and languages have different ideas about the early childhood education and on education system (Arnot, 2007). This implies that feminist acknowledge the notion of multiple voices many of which are found outside the general accepted paradigm. Feminist also consider that children in the early childhood environment comes from different linguistic and ethnic background (Prioletta, 2015). In some instances, these ideologies might go hand in hand with dominant perspectives, but might also disagree with them. These multiple voices are considered equally valuable and significant as empirical knowledge from most feminist perceptions. In classroom setting, multiple voices are applied as a guide by students to interpret and seek out information. At elementary level, this might demand teaching children about various types of families, for instance, single-parent families and gay families. It might also mean teaching concerning the community’s expectations for how girls and boys should behave, and how to accept their own ethnic background.
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Many feminist presume that intersections of ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, culture, and social class exist in the education setting, but some childhood developmental theories ignore these factors (Lair and Erwin 2000). This implies that education system of the early childhood also disregard the effects of these factors on teachers and children because it depends on these theories to develop curriculum. Most of these theories mainly focus on the individual characteristics and factors in development while paying little attention on the effects of the eternal elements such as classism, sexism, and discrimination (Rose and Twamley 2018). Feminist educators believe that these factors play a significant role and influence teaching and learning.
Good teaching demands active involvement in working for social justice and change (Burman and Stacey 2010). According to most feminist views, it is not recommendable to act, speak, or formulate a point of view from an objective perspective. This implies that for feminist childhood practitioners, applying one’s professional skills, knowledge, and expertise to fight for social change and justice. From feminist point of view, it is not sufficient enough to teach children concerning, writing, reading, learning, and thinking. Instead, these professional skills should be acquired within the framework of social though and social justice (Lair and Erwin 2000: Rose and Twamley 2018). According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (2009), indicate that activities need to be relevant and real for children. Feminist presume that issues like injustice, discrimination, oppression, gender, and racism are influential, relevant, and real and teachers and children are supposed to learn about them using a hands-on method.
From a research study carried out by Lair and Erwin (2000), they found out that almost every child who participated in their case study indicated that they felt discriminated against or undervalued by adults because of being a girl, and boys who played with girls were ashamed. Teachers have a significant responsibility of identifying the wider context of students’ perception, and assist them to handle these feeling (Burman and Stacey 2010). These feelings develop to something that a child can speak about, write about, and think about, and develop to a powerful motivation to learn how to think and write clearly.
Lair and Erwin (2000) state that there are principles of feminist that guide early childhood education in everyday curriculum. These principles formulate a starting point of teaching, and translating the presumptions of feminist ideologies into action. These principles outline what a feminist early childhood practitioner are supposed to do in the classroom.
- Firstly, early childhood educators are supposed to advocate for social justice and support significant issues in their society and schools, and behave in line with their beliefs (Rose and Twamley 2018). This implies confronting colleagues at school concerning unjust behavior and oppressive perception. It also involves confronting children in developmentally and sensitive appropriate approaches concerning unjust behavior, and understand how the environment justifies and produce bias. Feminist advocates for early childhood professionals to walk the talk which means that they move beyond observing or witnessing the unjust occurrences towards initiating actions to address these issues (Burman and Stacey 2010). At the elementary school, Lair and Erwin (2000) gave an example of a child who wanted to confront a toy company and indicate how girls are depicted in its advertising, how girls are mainly taken as inactive participant in the play, and how toys developed for girls had props that encouraged less imagination. In this case, the support of the teacher is crucial for the child to address this issue or continue with this idea. This might also involve supporting children to resists some teachers’ idea to discourage cross-gender play and friendship. In some instances, teachers on the playground discourage or prevent girls and boy from playing together, and demanding girls to engage in less active games. The education system should support children interest and efforts, assist them to clearly understand their beliefs and learning style.
- Secondly, early childhood teachers should honor alternatives ideologies (Burman and Stacey 2010). Professionals and children should be exposed to various alternatives of child development history, curriculum, theory, education, and status of minority group and women in the education. Alternatives voices and approaches are supposed to be integrated and infused throughout the education system. In the case of elementary schools, children should be taught alternative histories concerning girls’ development. When developmentally applicable, the actual studies about gender disparities is read to the children in classroom, and they should be given a chance to discuss their experiences and thought.
- Thirdly, early childhood teachers support the powerless. Feminist early childhood professional are taken as an advocate for the marginalized group in the community, and support the social developments that will give and accept expertise and experiences of these people in the society, nation, state, and school (Prioletta, 2015). In the classroom setting, this principle is approached in a different manner where children are in charge for the care of the classroom. They are allowed to make and enforce group policies, and plan of the curricula. There is a democracy in classroom. In this case, responsibility about the welfare of the group is subject to all children. This differ with traditional methods where teacher were fully in charge of the about the welfare of the children and made rules that governed children in the classroom. Children are given the support they need in their mission for socially and developmentally appropriate resistance approaches. They are given freedom and platform to express their ideas and grievances through play, discussion groups, and journals (Arnot, 2007).
- The fourth principle state that early childhood teachers accept diversity within the school or classroom. Feminist early childhood teachers and professionals need to comprehend about diversity of the families, society, and school. These involve but not limited to the sexual orientation, class, religion, ethnicity, gender, race, culture, and language. Feminist reject the idea of formulating a universal educational method that can be used to economics, languages, and ethnic groups (Burman and Stacey 2010). They support the idea of educational knowledge that is developed from diverse experiences and ideas of families and children (Rose and Twamley 2018). At childhood level teachers are supposed to know and understand all families in the classroom.
- The last but the least, early childhood teachers or professionals should empower students (Rose and Twamley 2018). This principle gives developing professionals and children a voice in learning and in their own education. It also assists to understand the current position about the power structure, explain power differences, and how to express themselves. According to Lair and Erwin (2000), traditionally, children in Western cultures and in the USA, they were marginalized from a valued and active societal role. Feminist early childhood professionals, resist these traditions and their consequences. According to feminist theory, at elementary classroom, children should start learning that they can freely express their feelings and thoughts, and their concerns about education (Burman and Stacey 2010). The early childhood professionals should help children understand that it is okay if their beliefs differ with those of dominant society or advocated by the media. The can also disagree with ideas such as “boy and girls are not supposed to play together or boy do not like to play with toys.” The moment children their teachers as their advocate they seem more comfortable connecting their feelings to behaviors. They also feel more contented taking responsibility for their deeds and learn to respect other people’s beliefs. Children acquire skills needed to resolve their own issue via this process, instead of depending on adult for their dictated solutions.
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The issues put forth by feminist and challenges that face ECE around the globe have triggered discussion about key concepts of childhood and necessitated the need to formulate strategies and intervention to resolve these issues. In this case, developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) has been a guiding principle on improving ECE.
Key Concepts of Childhood Studies and their Application in Changing and Differing Contexts of Childhood
This section explores the emerging issues in early childhood education and care as well as evaluates practices that promote children’s optimal development and learning. These include digital technologies, early intervention studies, parent engagement and family support, home child-care, child-minding, and home visiting as well as the analysis of the developmentally appropriate practice. These concepts address issues in early childhood education and help parents, early childhood professionals, lawmakers, and administrators to cope with changing environment for the provision of better childhood education and care as well as addressing issues raised feminist educators.
In the recent past, governments have been in the forefront trying to invest in programs that support child development and support their parents to become the best and first teachers of their children (Pound 2011). Also, there have been considerable economic studies about benefits on investing in early childhood education. The science shows how important the early stage is for brain development and future accomplishment. The environment of early years set the stage for either a weak or a strong background for brain development (Saracho 2015). The early hardship, abuse, mental health issues, and poverty can affect the health development of children’s brain contributing to the long-tern consequences in workforce, social, and academic abilities. Governments acknowledge and understand sensitivity of the early years and have tried to come up with legislation that advocate and support early childhood programs and policies.
The technological advancement has led to radical changes in all aspects of life in various parts of the world, including early childhood care (Nutbrown, 2011). These developments have brought equipment and tools for leisure and work for adults and play and education for young children. For instance, the current technology has revolutionized the toy industry leading to the development of media technology and interactive toys designed for children. The focus has been shifted to how this technology can be applied in learning and development of young children. Regardless of the practices and beliefs of adults, it is quite difficult to stop the changing environment of most children’s childhoods and in most cases, this environment is differs with the childhood of their teachers and parents.
Some schools take advantage of the digital technologies to improve learning and development and provide equal access of education to all children. For instance, many schools make use of blogs for positive development. They use media as part of the curriculum. States can also use the digital technologies to collect data concerning ECE that will help them to make informed decision about funding and formulating policies.
Early Intervention Studies
Early intervention is a phrase used to define strategies and programs in early childhood education that are designed to help children in academics and future accomplishments (Nutbrown, 2011). The notion that the early stage of development is vital to children’s future educational accomplishment has led to the formulation of strategies, techniques, and programs that focus on young children who are at-risk various ways. Some strategies are developed to make a significant difference to a child’s future social and academic accomplishment. Early intervention programs and strategies are formulated on a premise that “starting early” which implies that a greater chance of becoming successful and are mainly developed to hinder difficulties as well as seek to resolve any issues which young children already experience. These early strategies and intervention programs are triggered by the occurrence of inequalities that are found in various societies around the globe (ECDC 2018). Thus these programs go beyond than offering access to ECE or care.
Parent Engagement and Family Support
Parent engagement refers to parents’ efforts and initiatives that aim at enhancing their children’s learning and healthy development via the activities that can be encouraged by the teachers in pre-school, child care, and school environment. Family support improves social-emotional development, school readiness, and academic achievement (National Conference of States Legislatures, 2018). Education professionals and society attempt to formulate programs and strategies on how to involve parents in a meaningful approach in their children’s education development. Also, there has been a development in research studies on how parents, teachers, and the government can work together to improve early childhood education.
Home Child-Care, Child-Minding, and Home Visiting
Child-minding is perceived as one early form of childcare. But today child-minders play a critical significant role in the provision of childcare particularly in the UK. Nutbrown (2011) state that approximately 500, 000 children are taken care of by nannies or child-minders. Some parents prefer child-minding as the best approach of for their children. Also the National Child-minding Association indicated that there are some benefits tied up with child-minding. These benefits include the home environments that usually provide spontaneity and flexibility compare to group care, including real-life learning practices such as gardening, shopping, visiting the library, and cooking (Nutbrown, 2011).
On the other hand, home visiting is a voluntary activity. It is a strategy employed to support new parents and pregnant mothers to enhance school readiness, promote healthy children development, improve child and infant health, and promote family self-sufficiency (National Conference of States Legislatures, 2018). In most cases, these services are offered by trained nurses, child development specialists, or social workers. Studies on this area have shown positive results for families and children. This approach also builds a long-term saving for the government. Society and government play a significant role by supporting strategies and initiatives that aim at establishing effective home visiting approaches (Nutbrown, 2011). The government can also support trough funding these methods.
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Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is an approach that concentrates on improving ECE by formulating a framework for the best practice (Gestwicki 2007). Its framework is based on the research of how child learn and develop and in the knowledge base concerning effectiveness of the education (National Association for the Education of Young Children 2009). The framework indicates practice that enhances young children’s optimal development and learning. DAP include early childhood professionals helping young children as part of the society and as an individual. They also help every child to accomplish achievable and challenging learning goals.
Issues in the Current Framework
The framework of ECE has changed significantly and various issues have emerged since development of DAP in 1996 in the United States and around the globe. Challenges in the current context include;
- The issues of shortage of good care for highly susceptible toddler and infant children have become critical.
- The challenges of second language learning, home culture and language, and school culture have continued to worsen with the steady increase in the number of migrant children and families.
- Increase in the number of children with special needs participating in the early childhood environment. The children with special needs include those who have challenging characters, at risk for disabilities, and with disabilities.
- Shortage of qualified teachers/caregivers. It has been challenging for the government to maintain and develop qualified early childhood professionals. This is mainly experienced in areas that are under-funded mainly the childcare sector. This sector is losing trained teachers and administrators at high rate.
- The demographic trend indicates that there will be an increase in the percentage of young children in the population which will translate to an increase in the demand of early education and care. Also, it expected that there would be a dramatic increase in the children’s language and culture.
According to National Association for the Education of Young Children (2009), these challenges can be resolved through three approaches which include;
- Increasing the accomplishment of all children and minimize the learning gaps
- Accepting teachers decision making and knowledge as significant to effectiveness of the education
- Developing improved connected education for elementary children and preschool.
Major Considerations Of DAP
Early childhood professionals make many decisions every day, both short-term and long term. When they are making these decision they should be guided by the set objectives for children’s development and learning and have the intentions of assisting children. In all their activities with children, these professional must put into consideration the following the following three core areas of knowledge.
- Understand what is known concerning child learning and development. This requires understanding learning and development at different stages which is a significant starting point. This understanding grounded on research assist early childhood practitioners to predict about experiences that will most likely support child’s development and learning (Essa, 2014).
- Understand what known about every child as an individual. What early childhood practitioner learns concerning every child help to come with decision about how to care and teach every child as an individual. Observing children’s interaction with others and physical environment continually will help to learn and understand each child’s abilities, interests, and developmental progress. Also, by looking at how children’s play will facilitate to understand children in a better way.
- Understanding what is known concerning cultural and social context in areas where children live. Early childhood professionals must put an effort to learn about children’s families and understand the factors, expectations, and values that modify their lives in the society and in their homes. Background knowledge helps practitioners to provide respectful, relevant, and meaningful learning experiences for every child and family.
Principles of Child Learning and Development that Determine Practice
DAP is not grounded on what people want to believe or may think is best for the young people. DAP is based on what we understand from literature and theories about how concerning how children learn and develop (Fleer and Oers 2018). The following are the 12 principles of child learning and development (NAEYC 2018).
- All domains of learning and development which include cognitive, emotional, social and physical are important and they are closely and jointly correlated. Child’s learning and development in one area influence and is influenced by what happens in other areas.
- Various aspects of children learning and development adhere to well-documented sequences.
- Learning and development take place at different rates from child to child as well as at varying rates across various domains of a child’s individual functioning. Personal variation has two dimensions: the special characters of each child as an individual and the unavoidable variability around the typical course of growth. Children’s development and growth follow a particular individual timing and patterns. Children also differ in aptitudes, personality, and temperament as well as what they learn in their cultural and social context and within their family or environment that determine their experiences.
- Learning and development is as a result of dynamic and continuous interaction of experiences and biological maturation.
- Early childhood experiences have profound impact on learning and development.
- Development moves toward greater symbolic, self-regulation, and complexity or representational capacities.
- Children grow and develop best when they have consistent, secure relationships with receptive people and chances for meaningful relationships with peers.
- Learning and development takes place in and are influenced by various cultural and social aspects.
- Children at the time are mentally active attempting to understand the environment that surrounds them and they tend to learn in various ways. In this case, broad range of interactions and teaching strategies are effective approaches that can support all these forms of learning.
- Play is perceived as a crucial component for building self-regulation as well as promoting social, cognition, and language competence.
- Learning and development advances when children experience challenges and when they are exposed to many opportunities to put into practice the acquired skills.
- Children’s experiences determine their approaches and motivation to learning such as flexibility, initiative, and persistence. As a result, these behaviors and disposition affect their development and learning.
What exactly happen in classroom is as a result of many decisions made by families, teachers, administers, and lawmakers concerning education and care of young children. Effective early childhood teachers apply all principles of child learning and development as stated above as well as knowledge grounded on effective practices.
To make informed decisions about how to provide better education and care, early childhood teachers require knowledge of child learning, development, and best practices. DAP was based on research and theories and for better understanding and application of these practices, people use developmental theories for explanation. A developmental theory involves explanations and principles of particular aspects of children development. Developmental theories help early childhood in various approaches. Firstly, they help them to predict, explain, and describe behaviors. They also guide and formulate an explanation of what people see, that is, they explain behavioral observations. Theories also assist teachers to differentiate between unique patterns of development form normal patterns which in turn help them to come up with additional instructional services or assistance to young children. They also guide teachers when making both informal and formal instructional decisions. Some of these theories include social learning theory, ecological theory, cognitive-developmental theory, and psychological theory. Every theorist or theory evaluates and interpreter development from a different perspective. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is another approach that can be used to explain about children’s rights and issues that revolves around child education and care.
Analysis of UNCRC
UNCRC was developed to provide children with opportunities for healthy development, better quality of life, and fulfill their potential (Unicef n.d). Children’s rights and freedom in ECE has developed and new and different perspective of how people treat and view children. Since the adoption of the UNCRC children are treated as human being with rights. Children rights change the power that exists between children and adults, and the state (Unicef 2017). In this case, children are taken as active subject instead of parents’ chattels or objects of socializations. Children are taken as the most vulnerable group to right violation and implementing their rights is particularly significant. According to (Robson 2016), children in disadvantage conditions accomplish better educational and social results if they are part of the highly-quality ECE programs. Non-discrimination, curriculum, education, participation, and culture are some of the key impetus for the establishment of children’s rights. This implies that children’s right were developed to solve inequalities, discrimination, and increase participations of all children from different ethnicity, religion, race, and gender background. Different perspectives on ECE and on the effect of injustice on children led to the development UNCRC which incorporated these differences. Since 1989, the UNCRC has been adopted by 195 nations, including all member states of United Nations except the U.S.
The UN monitors the progress of all countries that have ratified. The absence of knowledge concerning children’s rights is mainly connected to ineffective application of UNCRC. The UNCRC is an external legal document that is considered as standard for policy development in ECE. According to Robson (2016), implementation of children rights demands a clear comprehension of social circumstances of children. UNCRC has not accomplished its intended goals (Robson 2016). The United Nations Committee of the Rights of the Child (UNcomRC) in 2005, come up with general comments about implementing children rights in early childhood to encourage acceptance that young children are the beneficiary of all rights outlined in the convention. The UN human right committee have stressed on the significance of children’s workforce acquiring up-to-date practical and theoretical comprehension about children rights. It also encourages the government to initiate child rights training for parents, children, and all those people involved with children. These recommendations were formulated in the knowledge of challenges of execution of children’s right emerging from research and theory.
Many governments across the globe have taken measures and action to implement UNCRC but have failed to register a significant development (Robson 2016). For instance, in 2014, the UK government honored its obligation and submitted its fifth period review to indicate the measures and actions taken in the effort of implementing UNCRC (Robson 2016). In its report, early years professional were indicated as the measure to enhance ECE, but periodic review failed to indicate any clarification of their objective in accomplishing children rights. From a research carried out by Jerome et al. (2015) about factors influencing execution of child rights education found out that none of the country survey had ensured that all teachers are trained about children’s rights and conversant with the UNCRC. Many countries try to operate within the context of UNCRC, for instance, New Zealand ECE department has adhered to the rules of UNCRC, but at the same time there are policies that hinder smooth implementation of these policies. For instance, the projected budget cut in 2010 and 2012 in New Zealand put the services of early childhood available to families and children at risk (One and Dalli 2009). Despite the effort show by the government to implement UNCRC, some of these policies raise questions about the governments’ stance towards the rights of children to take part in the quality ECE. Children rights advocated by the UNCRC were meant to provide children with safe and secure environment free abuse, discrimination, and creating equal opportunities to all children irrespective of their gender, language, economic status, ethnicity, and religion. With effective implementation of UNCRC will resolve challenges that face ECE, including gender inequality.
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The objective of this paper was to critically analyze ECE from a feminist point of view. The paper has discussed different perceptive of radical, liberal, and socialist feminism. Feminist critique the elements of the traditional standards of ECE. Many teachers are reflective of the traditional paradigms, but some do not tend to question the basic presumptions concerning the environment upon which the educational practice is formulated. Feminist perceptions together with major social theories are significant tools for critically evaluating gender inequality in ECE. The issues outlined by feminist have made me to focus on key concepts of childhood education and investigate how these trending concepts relate to gender inequality. I have delved into concept of UNCRC towards gender inequality in the classroom and how it affects children’s everyday lives in various aspects. The primary objective of the discussion that revolves around these concepts is to improve learning and development of all children. These discussions are triggered by occurrence of inequalities that are found in various societies around the globe. For instance, the technological advancement has led radical changes in all aspects of life in various parts of the world, including early childhood care. Regardless of the practices and beliefs of adults, it is quite difficult to stop the changing environment of most children’s childhoods and in most cases, this environment is differs with the childhood of their teachers and parents. In this case, some studies seek to come with formula of how to include the digital technologies in early years of children positively take advantage of their application to support children’s development and learning while other studies raise awareness about their potential harm.
Currently, children are immersed in a society with different culture, languages, and new technologies. They are growing up in a diverse culture and digital environment and develop a broad range of understanding, knowledge, and skills of this environment from birth. This call for more attention and care in bring up young children in a rapid changing environment. In this case, the notion that the early stage of development is vital to children’s future educational accomplishment has led to the formulation of strategies, techniques, and programs that focus on young children who are at-risk various ways. As a result, developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) were developed to provide all children with equal opportunities for healthy development, better quality of life, and fulfillment their potential. These approaches are internationally accepted standards that guide governments, lawmakers, administers, parents, and early childhood professionals in formulating strategies and programs as well as making decisions that improve children’s learning and development. Many governments across the world have tried to adhere to the requirement of UNCRC in an attempt of providing better ECE and care but some government policies have derailed implementation of UNCRC.
Research and theories have been key component in formulating strategies and programs solving challenges that face ECE, including gender inequality. Both UNCRC and DAP are based on research, theories and different perspectives from various groups. Theories also assist teachers to differentiate between unique patterns of development form normal patterns which in turn help them to come up with additional instructional services or assistance to young children. Effective implementation of DAP and UNCRC will ensure equal opportunities for all children, improve development and learning, and take children as an active subject who have the abilities to fight for their rights and rejects some behaviors, for instance, boy are not supposed to play with girls, that are dictated by the society and adults. Also, it will help them to understand and appreciate their culture even if it is different from the dominant culture or the one advocated by the media.
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