1st Edition

Empowering Early Childhood Educators International Pedagogies as Provocation

Edited By Naomi McLeod, Patricia Giardiello Copyright 2019
    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    This forward-thinking text challenges educators to think about and question the purpose of education and explores international understandings of the role played by early years professionals in promoting participatory, ethical and reflexive practice which benefits children as independent decision-makers.

    By exploring the different perspectives, concepts and practices adopted in early childhood settings in Denmark, Finland, Aotearoa, New Zealand and Sweden, Empowering Early Childhood Educators demonstrates the potential of participatory and democratic approaches in day-to-day practice. Illustrating how pedagogical approaches such as Te Whāriki, Reggio Emilia and the Montessori method may be understood and interpreted to maximise children’s engagement in their socio-cultural context, chapters empower educators to question their professional experience, knowledge and initiative to find a balance between directives and ethical practice. A rich combination of case studies, commentaries, interviews and conversations, the text offers critical insight into the daily practices and challenges of early years educators around the world and inspires critical reflection on practices which empower them.

    A powerful revaluation of the purposes and value of early childhood education, Empowering Early Childhood Educators will be of interest to early years practitioners, students and researchers.


    List of Figures and Tables

    List of Contributors

    Foreword: Professor Peter Moss

    Our reasons for writing this book: reflections from the editors

    Introduction by Naomi McLeod and Patricia Giardiello


    Chapter 1: The Purpose of Education Today by Naomi McLeod and Patricia Giardiello

    Chapter 2: The Reflexive Educator by Naomi McLeod

    Chapter 3: Democracy and Participation in Early Childhood Education by Naomi McLeod and Tarja Karlsson Häikiö


    Chapter 4: Maria Montessori (with Perspectives from Sweden) by Patricia Giardiello and Kerstin Signert

    Chapter 5: Reggio Emilia (with Perspectives from Sweden) by Patricia Giardiello, Tarja Karlsson Häikiö, Pernilla Mårtensson

    Chapter 6: A Finnish Perspective of Early Childhood Education by Patricia Giardiello, Tarja Karlsson Häikiö, Ulla Härkönen, Liisa Lohilahti and Naomi McLeod

    Chapter 7: Te Whāriki by Patricia Giardiello, Geraldine Leydon and Annette Hargreaves

    Chapter 8: Danish Outdoor Nature Pedagogy by Naomi McLeod


    Chapter 9: Wider Issues In Early Childhood Education by Patricia Giardiello and Tarja Karlsson Häikiö

    Chapter 10: Chapter 10: Hope for the Future: New Possibilities for Sustaining a Reflexive Approach by Naomi McLeod, Tarja Karlsson Häikiö and Pernilla Mårtensson

    Afterword: A Meeting Place by Naomi McLeod and Patricia Giardiello



    Naomi McLeod leads the MA in International Approaches to Early Childhood Education and teaches across Early Childhood and Education Studies at Liverpool John Moores University, UK.

    Patricia Giardiello is Award Lead for the MA in Early Childhood Studies and Leadership in Early Years. She is also a researcher in the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.


    In the current climate this book’s timely challenge to an outcome-driven curriculum will be welcomed by all concerned by the pressures of top-down approaches to ECE that focus on data and accountability at the expense of children’s experiences. Whilst McLeod and Giardiello furnish a clear-sighted critique of contemporary policy and its implications, their main concern is to offer a way forward by empowering EC educators through critical self-awareness. By questioning personal beliefs and practices, educators can become more reflective in their pedagogy and therefore better equipped to resist inappropriate pressures from elsewhere...The authors’ commitment to social justice shines through this text and underpins their conviction that ’empowering early childhood educators is a crucial enterprise’. Reflective practice can be difficult for students who have come through an education system where they were taught to look for ‘right answers’, it requires an ‘epistemological shift’ in thinking (Hanson, 2013). This book is ideally placed to support such an epistemological shift and nurture reflective dispositions. Students, lecturers and practitioners will all find inspiration, not only so they can avoid being ‘blown about by the winds of cultural and pedagogic preference’ (Brookfield,1995:265) but to stand tall and actively challenge the downward pressures of inappropriate expectations. - Rory McDowall Clark, TACTYC