Constructions of social inclusion within Australian early childhood education and care policy documents

Sandie Wong*, Kay Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Social inclusion discourses have been powerful in informing early childhood policy contexts, both internationally and in Australia (the context of the current study) for the past decade or so. But little research has examined the productive aspects of social inclusion discourses particularly within early childhood education and care (ECEC) policy documents. This article reports on a content analysis of Australian ECEC policy documents. The analysis revealed that, despite the absence of the specific use of the term 'social inclusion' within these documents, multiple constructs of social inclusion were nevertheless evident. These constructs included social inclusion as 'poverty reduction', 'workforce participation', and 'normative'-constructs previously problematised and critiqued in the literature. More optimistically, however, the analysis also revealed constructs of social inclusion as 'a response to discrimination and inequality and a validation of diversity' and as 'participation in democratic decision-making'. We argue that the Australian ECEC policy context largely supports a concept of social inclusion that reflects social justice concerns and positions ECEC as an important contributor to a more socially just society. However, the absence of explicit social inclusion language within ECEC policy documents is a critical gap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalContemporary Issues in Early Childhood
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


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