Quality early childhood education for my child or for all children?

Parents as activists for equitable, high-quality early childhood education in Australia

Marianne Fenech*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Historical accounts of the development of early childhood education (ECE) in Australia up to the passing of Child Care Act in 1972 (Brennan, 1998; Wong, 2006) show that parents' role in the development of the sector has been limited. This trend has continued since the 1970s, with parents seemingly contributing to the development and quality of individual centres more so than to the development of a quality system of ECE in Australia. In the absence of parent-driven demand for such a system, significant and longstanding barriers to the universal provision of high-quality ECE prevail. This paper suggests that three intersecting influences have collectively induced parents to think about ECE as a personal rather than a public concern. These influences are ECE policy as an 'art of government' (Foucault 1991[1978], p. 92); maternalist discourses that naturalise motherhood; and educators' limited engagement with and enacting of systems advocacy. The paper discusses possibilities for educators to subvert these influences and develop activist collaborations with the goal of achieving universal provision of high-quality education for all children in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-98
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Early Childhood
Volume38
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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