Conflicting ideologies in early childhood education : an exploration of Reggio-inspired practice
Nguyen, Uyen Anna
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Within the field of early childhood education, the ideologies of child development and its parent discipline, developmental psychology, dominate both theory and practice. In recent years, educators have attempted to reconceptualise early childhood education by adopting more progressive approaches to teaching and learning. The aim of this present research study was to critically examine the experiences of early childhood educators who have adopted a Reggioinspired approach to educating young children. To explore their experiences, an institutional ethnography was employed involving seven educators from a large child care organization in Hamilton, Ontario. In line with the intent ofthis study, qualitative data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews, participant-observations and textual analyses to explore the presence of developmental-psychological ideologies within early childhood education and Reggio-inspired practice. The present study also examined the challenges faced by educators who have adopted a Reggio-inspired approach. The results of this study indicate that ideologies associated with the developmental-psychological paradigm dominate the practice of early childhood educators and that the conflicting ideologies that surround Reggio educators may play a role in some of the challenges educators experience. The findings of this study thus demonstrate a need to adopt alternative approaches toward understanding both children and childhood, in both early childhood educational theory and practice.