The landscape of early childhood education and care is changing. Governments world-wide are assuming increasing authority in relation to child-rearing in the years before school entry, beyond the traditional role in assisting parents to do the best they can by their children. As part of a social agenda aimed at forming citizens well prepared to play an active part in a globalised knowledge economy, the idea of ‘early learning’ expresses the necessity of engaging caregivers right from the start of children’s lives. Nichols, Rowsell, Rainbird, and Nixon investigate this trend over three years, in two countries, and three contrasting regions, by setting themselves the task of tracing every service and agent offering resources under the banner of early learning. Far from a dry catalogue, the study involves in-depth ethnographic research in fascinating spaces such as a church-run centre for African refugee women and children, a state-of-the-art community library and an Australian country town. Included is an unprecedented inventory of an entire suburban mall. Richly visually documented, the study employs emerging methods such as Google-mapping to trace the travels of actual parents as they search for particular resources. Each chapter features a context investigated in this large, international study: the library, the mall, the clinic, and the church. The author team unravels new spaces and new networks at work in early childhood literacy and development.
Table of Contents
1. The Early Learning Agenda 2. Tracing Early Learning Resources 3. The Mall 4. The Clinic 5. The Church 6. The Library 7. The Networked Discursive Field of Early Learning
Sue Nichols is a senior lecturer in Education at the University of South Australia and a key researcher in the Centre for Literacy Policy and Learning Cultures. Her research in the fields of early childhood, literacy, and parent involvement has been published in many edited collections and refereed journals.
Jennifer Rowsell is Canada Research Chair in Multiliteracies at Brock University and Director of the Centre for Multiliteracies. Her research examines ways of rethinking literacy (e.g., reading, writing, communicating) in the 21st century. She has written several books, articles, and chapters on family literacy, thinking digitally, early childhood literacy, and multimodal literacy.
Helen Nixon is Associate Professor of Cultural and Language Studies in Education at the Queensland University of Technology. Her research focuses on literacy and social justice, popular culture, ICT and new media, and place-based education. She has co-edited two books, including Literacies in Place, and has authored many chapters and journal articles.
Sophia Rainbird is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Appleton Institute, Central Queensland University. An anthropologist, her research has focused on migrant and refugee experiences, social networks and risk management. She is published in several journals including Journal of Intercultural Studies and Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.