An analysis of the conceptualisation of 'quality' in early childhood education and care empirical research

promoting 'blind spots' as foci for future research

Marianne Fenech*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    54 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article critically analyses how empirical research investigating quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) in the period 1980-2008 has conceptualised 'quality'. Applying Foucault's notion of 'critique' to 338 peer-reviewed journal articles uncovered six interconnected truths: quality is an objective reality; quality enhances children's optimal development; quality is the domain of science/psychology; quality can be known from researchers' perspectives; quality can be understood using an ecological framework that is limited to child, familial and childcare variables; and quality ECEC is more pertinent to preschoolers than babies and infants. The article problematises these prevailing truths, arguing that the dominance of positivist discourse in ECEC research has limited how quality ECEC can be thought and talked about. An addressing of the blind spots this article identifies has the potential to lead to more developed and nuanced understandings of quality ECEC.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)102-117
    Number of pages16
    JournalContemporary Issues in Early Childhood
    Volume12
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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