Diversity in pre-school

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					Diversity in pre-school

         Sven Persson
    PhD, Associate Professor
       Malmö University
   Research Overview: Conditions for learning in pre-
    school and pre-school classes (Swedish Research
   Pre-school from a societal perspective.
   Thesis: Parent’s images of children and child care.
   Research Co-ordinator, Centre for Diversity in
   Research on relational pedagogy in Centre for
    Professional Studies.
   Teacher Education, supervision of doctoral students.
   Pre-school teacher.
      Centre for
Diversity in Education

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                    City of

                 Centre dfori o n
               Diversity in E ucat

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                                (ex Diversity Week)

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Welcome to Malmö
– meetings and possibilities
                                            Photo:X-RAY FOTO/Leif Johansson

• Malmö is the growth centre of the region
• 277,000 inhabitants
• Population expanding for the twenty-second year in
  a row
• 26% of the city’s inhabitants were born abroad
• 169 nationalities represented
• Young population: 47% are under 35 years of age

Diversity - Meetings - Possibilities
                               Photo:X-RAY FOTO/Leif
Photo: X-RAY FOTO/Leif Johansson


                                   Diversity – key to the
                                   future of Malmö

                                   • 70,600 of the city’s inhabitants were born
                                   • There are 169 different nationalities in
                                   • This multi-cultural society creates
                                     opportunities for Malmö to assert itself in an
                                     increasingly globalised economy
                                   • Diversity creates conditions for a rich
                                     cultural life
                                   • Around 147 different languages are spoken
                                     in Malmö, not including the Nordic
   Pre-school: 1-5 years
   Pre-school classes: 6 years
   Compulsory school: 7 years
Children’s attendance in pre-school
   50 % of one-year-old children

   87 % of two-year-old children

   96 % of five-year-old children
       Curriculum for pre-school
   Children should be aware of their own cultural
    heritage and participating in the culture of
   Children with a foreign background who
    develop their first language should improve their
    prospects of learning Swedish as well as
    developing knowledge in other areas.
          Multi-cultural identity
   Pre-school should help to ensure that children
    from national minorities and children with a
    foreign background receive support in
    developing a multi-cultural identity.
Support for children’s mother tongue
      language in pre-school

           Mother tongue teachers in 13
            different languages are supporting
            immigrant children in pre-school.
           Individual training or in groups once
            a week.
The Department for mother tongue
       training in Malmö
                   Organises support for
                    mother tongue training
                    in preschool and school.
                   176 mother tongue
                    teachers, 28 of them in
           Legal obligations for the
   The municipatility is obliged to offer a place in
    pre-school to children if their parents are
    working or studying.
   If the child is in need of special aids it should be
    offered a place in pre-school.
   The municipatility is obliged to offer a place in
    pre-school when the child is 4 years old.
 The average number of children
 15 children 1-3 years
 20 children 3-5 years

 Ratio children/teacher 5:1

 50% pre-school teachers

 50% child minders
          Longitudinal research
   International longitudinal research studies show
    that children’s attendance at pre-school has
    positive effects on their learning capacities in
   In a Swedish longitudinal study, children, who
    attended pre-school from an early age, were
    more succesful than the control group in their
    cognitive, emotional and social development
    (Andersson, 1992).
     Pre-school - a part of the welfare
   Pre-school has always been a part of Swedish
    family and social policy.
   A new curriculum 1998.
   Pre-school belongs to the educational system.
   The aim is to integrate new pedagogical ideas
    into compulsory school.
   Edu-care.
    Research on quality and structural
          factors in pre-school
   ECERS (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale).
   Quality is related to teacher’s and children’s interaction.
   The teacher’s competence, education and knowledge
    are the most important factors for good quality.
   Working teams with a clear vision of pedagogical goals
    are more succesful.
   For children 1-3 years of age, the size of the group is
   Children from low socio-economic backgrounds suffer
    more if the teacher/children ratio is low.
     Research on diversity and multi-
     cultural education in pre-school
   The meaning of cultural diversity is transformed to a
    discourse of difference.
   Tendency to emphasize assimilation rather than
   The image of being Swedish (Ronström, Runfors &
    Wahlström, 1998).
   A mono-lingual norm for multi-lingual children is seen
    in individual development plans (Vallberg Roth &
    Månsson, 2007).
   Multi-cultural education is articulated as an objective or
    a goal for the Other (Lunneblad, 2007).
An institution for normalisation?
   Prescribed manuscript constructs the Other.
   Ethnicity/culture as pure entities.
   Children construct hybrid culture patterns as a
    result of many different learning experiences.
   Assimilation more than integration.
               A brighter picture
   Norell Beach (1998) shows that deliberately working
    with teachers in pre-school can bridge prejudices and
    stereotypical images about “the Other”.
   Opportunities to reflect in groups and networks, with
    guidance, leads to a more deliberately multi-cultural
    education (Sjöwall, 1994).
   Teachers or assistants with the same background as the
    immigrant child, help the child to develop language and
    a multi-cultural identity (Obondo, 2004).
Things are not what they seem to be
   Potential of pre-school to be an important institution for
   Policy documents and curricula support integration policy.
   Organisation for mother tongue training in municipatilities helps
    children to develop their first and second language.
   Teachers in pre-school have to be well educated.
   Support (reflection groups) and guidance for teachers is needed.
   Immigrant children from families with low socio-economic
    backgrounds are more vulnerable to structural changes.