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Critically evaluate the practice in Reggio Emilia pre-schools in comparison to that in Ireland and another EU country of your choice.

Critically evaluate the practice in Reggio Emilia pre-schools in comparison to that in Ireland and another EU country of your choice.

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Poppy Breheny. Originally submitted for Advanced Curriculum Stuides at University College Cork, with lecturer Maura Cuneen & Mary Horgan in the category of Teacher Education
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Poppy Breheny. Originally submitted for Advanced Curriculum Stuides at University College Cork, with lecturer Maura Cuneen & Mary Horgan in the category of Teacher Education

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 29, 2012
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Advanced Early Years Curriculum Studies
Essay title:
Critically evaluate the practice in Reggio Emilia pre-schools in comparison to that in Irelandand another EU country of your choice.
Word Count: 4,132 words
The definition of educational practise is, by and large, one that correlates with schooling.Thus, it is one that could possibly be accepted as practise that encompasses diverseeducational philosophy, ideology, approaches and goals. In many countries, the type of practise within pre-schools appears to be somewhat peppered by discrepancy, difference, andsimilarity. For some, education and care lie on similar planes. For others, they remain polesapart. What has instigated pedagogical variation? Historical developments of provision inSweden, Ireland, and Reggio Emilia pre-schools found much of the variation that existsbetween these three countries.
Grundy (1987) avows that beneath the „surface‟ of 
curricularpractise, one will discover an
underlying bed of „beliefs‟ and „values‟ that somewhat
givebirth to these variations (Horgan, 2010; Hall, Horgan, Ridgeway, Murphy, Cunneen, &Cunningham, 2010, ch. 4, p. 3; Grundy, 1987, p.7) . It is almost inevitable not to wonder, isthere a leading view of the child and the early years importance amongst EU countries? Doesone country carry superlative practice? Developments in the quality of provision can be
viewed through a historic lens to provide insight into the early year‟s recognition and
diversity within curricular practise today. In spite of assortments within practice among EUcountries like Ireland and Sweden, can we recognise the strengths and the weaknesses that areembedded into practice? Within our individual pre-schools, can we learn to collaborativelypractice in partnership?The definition of curricular practise is wholly one that forms part and parcel of educatory models. Nevertheless, does this regard the early years? OECD (2006a)acknowledges that practise is almost duty bound to firmly unite education with care to ensure
„quality‟ within the early years (OECD, 2006a). Pedagogical goals within Swedish child care
provision function dually to embrace this correlation of child development and learning(Ministry of Education and Science, MES, 1999). How has this development come about?
Horgan (2010) avows that curricular advances somewhat mirror the „social milieu‟ of a
country (Horgan, 2010, p. 3; Hall et al, 2010). How did Swedish historicism impact upontheir development?
In 1836 Sweden opened its doors to the first infant school (Smabarnsskola) withthe hope of providing for the rights of children and families who live on a poverty strickenspectrum. Influenced by the Lutheran Church, this ideology acknowledged the rights of 
 children in the Swedish regard. To some extent, this democratic view appears to reflect thepurpose behind childcare at that time, seeing it as a form of practise that is built for solepurpose
built to pacify poverty (MES, 1999, p. 22). Similar searches for underprivileged just did not appear in Ireland until the Young Ireland Uprising in 1848. Owing to gender roleequity developments and female demands to filter into the labour force, the purpose behindpre-school pedagogy transformed and instigated a novel model of design. The integration of care and education became paramount in The Preschool Report (1968)
a development thathas was somewhat understatedly denied in Ireland during the 18
00 and 1900‟s (Sloverket,
2000, p. 16; NCCC, 1968). The
recognition of women‟s participation
, coupled with thissubsequent care and educatory amalgamation, gave rise to immense developments of the
1900‟s in the childcare sector. The most memorable of these dates back to 1996, when
Swedish child care responsibility was delicately handed over to the Ministry of Educationfrom Health departments (MES, 1999). In correlation with this, The National Pre-schoolCurriculum (1998) instigated the transitional perspective adopted between all schools of learning within Sweden, fostering recognition of the importance of early learning educationand the vitality of co-operation between child care systems. Mandatory by nature, their goalsvalued the child as a democratic citizen, respecting development, learning, identity, parentalinvolvement and interactions (MES,1999, 10-19). Recognising the importance of EarlyChildhood Education and Care (ECEC) in The Swedish Education Act (1998), municipalitiesare now obliged to provide pre-school classes for all children under the age of 6 years.Stemming from this opaque history of democratic ideology, Swedish pre-schools now offeruniversal entitlement free of charge to all 4-5 year old children. On similar par, legalentitlements are set in stone for child care provision for all children under 3 years to facilitatethe continuing, historical amplification within
women‟s employment and
the gender role
modification within the family (Curtis & O‟Hagan, 2003). Does Irish provision
possesssimilarity across developmental lines?The OECD (2006) highlights the reputable early education network built within theprimary school system for children between 4-6 years (OECD, 2006b) In spite of primaryschool developments in 1931, Hayes (2001) avows that little thought was given to
orcurricular aptness, in spite of pre-school developments in the private sectors in 1974 andefforts to promote the early years by private pre-school bodies (Hayes, 2001). As a result,care and education within Ireland during this time, largely contrasted with integrated Swedish
models of education and transitional perspectives. While research was developing the vitalityof the Early Years in Ireland, virtual recognition of the importance appeared to be somewhatneglected
 prior to the 1900‟s – 
the epoch of Swedish development (MES, 1999). The ChildCare Act (1991) and Ratification on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1992)were the first fundamentals to give rise to recognition in early care for children in Ireland(Walsh, 2003, p. 29; DOH, 1991). Similar to Swedish development within society, as female
 participation plummeted during the 1990‟s,
the demand to supply was branded (DJELR,1999; Walsh, 2003). In spite of this, developments in 1999 by the National Forum for EarlyChildhood Education promoted the first mutual comprehension of the importance of the earlyyears
a factor that was present in the Education Act of Sweden yet absent in the EducationAct of Ireland (DES, 1998). Following this recognition of the early years, the novel view of the young child as a citizen with a right to education from the moment of birth wentunnoticed until the White Paper on Early Childhood Education (DES, 1999) sprung into life.This development gave rise to the curricular the curricular framework that practitioners nowvoluntarily address to guide curricular ideologies, planning and development (NCCA, 2006).In spite of heightened development within the Irish Early Years sector, we have still failed tomandate comparable Swedish national curriculums for pre-school education. Perchance, indoing so, we have failed to foster the transitional perspective integrating preschool educationwith primary school education within the early years. Similarly, while we competently acceptthe importance of the early years mirroring the principals of Reggio Emilia preschools, wehave somewhat failed to neglect an imperative role in the childcare and education unit
integrated „co
ordination‟ (OECD, 2004, p.26; DES, 1999, p. 133). OECD Reports (2004)
testifies that disintegration of ministerial responsibility in Ireland shared by 3 departmentalagencies is part and parcel of our failure to keep up with Swedish development (OECD, 2004,p. 23).
In spite of this possibility, do Swedish models of provision or Ireland‟s early year‟s
developments correspond to Reggio Emilia in any way?
Grundy (1987) avows that beneath the „surface‟ of curricular practise, one will
discover underlying
 bedrock of „beliefs‟ and „values‟ (Horgan, 2010; Hall, Horgan,
Ridgeway, Murphy, Cunneen, & Cunningham, 2010, ch. 4, p. 3; Grundy, 1987, p.7). Built onthe ideology of Dewey (1913), Reggio Emilia pre-schools recognise child citizenship and the
urgency for children to have „power‟
within their development and learning (Dewey, 1913, p.95-96). Somewhat similar to Swedish democratic ideologies, what gave rise to thispedagogical ideology within Reggio Emilia? The specifics of this child centred ideology canbe somewhat correlated with process models of curriculum formulated on the premise that

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