How Do We View the World?

Penny for your Paradigm

Dr. Patrick Ryan and Dr. Peter Moss are both Historians by practice and both have referenced paradigms as a means to understanding our own world views. Moss defines a paradigm as, "a basic belief system or mindset that shapes how we understand the world and our relationship to it, a position from which we view and make sense of the world" (2018). What lens do you use to view the world, or more particularly, as an educator how do you view the way children learn? Dr. Ryan's "Landscape of Modern Childhood" paradigm guided me in my understanding of how I view the way in which children learn (2008). This paradigm also gave me insight into alternative ways of thinking, leading to  new possibilities of what may be included in our early childhood education practice in Ontario.  

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Many pedagogical documents are accessible, both in Ontario, in Canada and internationally that may inform our practice as educators. Our complex practice working with children, families and educators must be informed by more than our local practice to continue to evolve our thinking. Links to some influential documents have been provided. 

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Historical View of Childhood - Dr. Patrick Ryan

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To read more about Dr. Ryan's "Landscape of Modern Childhood" please follow the link below. 

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Pedagogical Influences

History of Early Childhood Theories


A deeper level of understanding of early childhood education theories began to develop in my mind when I read the work of Historian, Dr. Patrick Ryan. The view of children has changed over the years, impacted by researchers, politicians and society. Dr. Patrick Ryan presents us with an insightful overview of the view of childhood through history in How new is the “new’ Social Study of Childhood? The Myth of a Paradigm Shift (2008). As a student and educator trained in compartmentalizing my learning, Ryan’s "Landscape of Modern Childhood" provided me with the most impressive aha moment of my career as it carefully separated the views of childhood into four distinct quadrants (2008, p. 558). Under the tutelage of Dr. Wendy Crocker (2016) I was guided through all four quadrants of Ryan’s model to begin to understand how Ontario has moved through this history of the view of childhood when developing curriculum in education (2008). I was able to break down the different movements in education for the early years by relating time periods to quadrants in the "Landscape of Modern Childhood" (Ryan, 2008, p. 558). This inspired me to delve further into Ontario’s curricula for the early years to begin to understand how we got to where we are now, using a socially constructed pedagogy such as How Does Learning Happen? (2014). 

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 6)

My idea was further enhanced by listening to Dr. Peter Moss speak at a conference hosted by the Ontario Reggio Association. Moss discussed the need for humans to place ideas into a paradigm of thinking to make sense of the world (2018). This is exactly what Ryan's paradigm did for my meaning making of our current view of how children learn in Ontario (2008). The introduction of How Does Learning Happen: Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years was actually late in its arrival, compared to many other countries, but it may have been too soon for our province with a lack of interdisciplinary studies in early childhood education (OME, 2014). The historical perspective of the view of childhood helps make meaning of the importance of How Does Learning Happen? (2014). 


Continuum of Curricular Paradigms


Figure 1. Continuum of Curricular Paradigms and Opportunities for Efficiency and Ethics

Heydon and Wang developed a paradigm to view curricula ranging from efficient and prescriptive to ethical and emergent.  At one end of the continuum, the prescriptive curriculum, describes a curriculum in which educators and children are highly controlled where curriculum design is further away from those working directly with children (Heydon & Wang, 2006).   An adaptable curriculum would involve more interaction between educators, children and the environment, allowing for more educator and child-initiated activities while still being constrained by a curriculum that has been exported to the classroom (Heydon & Wang, 2006).  Heydon and Wang describe the emergent paradigm as one that is critical of curriculum where practice is inseparable from theory aligning with a more ethical pedagogical process (2006).   

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 6-7) 

Theories in Early Childhood Education

Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) in early childhood education fits nicely into Ryan's developing child quadrant, defined as children being products to be studied under controlled conditions (2008). This practice has been the dominant discourse in Ontario for many years, derived from the regulatory expectations of The Day Nurseries Act (1990). Compliance under this act was regulated by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. 

 “Modernity’s reliance on science and human rationality still has a strong hold in the field of ECEC, particularly in the U.S. and Canada. Evidence of this hold can be seen in the enduring influence of the concept of developmentally appropriate practice, definitions of quality, and theories of child development that assume universal laws and norms” (Pacini-Ketchabaw & Pence, 2005). 

One worries that a strong focus on DAP in early childhood education may push educators away from educating young children and themselves about the importance of caring for cultural and political impacts, humankind, the environment, and sustainability because of the strong focus on competition and academic success found in predetermined developmental levels for all children. DAP promotes the importance of children learning skills such as numeracy and literacy that are necessary to be successful in the more formal school system and in a larger neoliberal society. What would our school system begin to look like if children were guided to explore values, complexity, democracy, experimentation and creativity (Moss, 2017, p. 12)? 

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 12)


"The approach of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (NAEYC, 1997) is to insulate early childhood educators from critical reflective practice and instead lays out the expectations of how to understand difference, albeit in a limited capacity" (Zeenat, 2010, p. 7).

Throughout the ELECT section titled "Play as a Means to Early Learning that Capitalizes on Children’s Natural Curiosity and Exuberance" there are many references to future academic success, including many references to skill building in play to set the stage for effective numeracy and literacy skill development that will benefit each child once they participate in more formal school setting (OME, 2014, p. 11). This brings us back to developmentally appropriate practice and the role early childhood education plays in preparing children for future academic success. I wonder if the pressure to position early childhood education as a respected profession in society influences the need to focus on traditional school-based skills. How do we incorporate more important values of the social sciences, such as democracy, experimentation and creativity (Moss, 2017, p. 12)? Edwards noticed this contrast in her work when one participant educator realized that traditional observed approaches positioned developmental knowledge as more important than understanding children’s cultural experiences (2007, p. 97). 


Di Santo and Kenneally suggested that the majority of interactions in the "Continuum of Development" place agency with the educator and moves educators away from the best interests of the child allowing for an educator-focus, rather than a child-focus in practice (2014, p. 401). The guiding principles of the ELECT (2014) promote a rights-based curriculum for children and families but with the inclusion of the "Continuum of Development" in Excerpts from ELECT, educators are being encouraged to implement an educator-focused program for children that is clearly laid out. Does this interfere with an educator’s ability to think critically and think beyond the "Continuum of Development"? Working in a busy, fast paced environment with many demands presents our field with challenges to find time to reflect and think critically in our practice, reducing the time to advocate for the children, families and profession. If we were to remove the "Continuum of Development" from our practice, would our early learning environments fail in Ontario? Would educators flounder and wonder how to engage children in their practice? 

The ELECT has been an extremely important document for the evolution of early childhood education in Ontario because it has helped those outside of the profession be able to understand the important work of early childhood educators. It has also afforded the profession much needed respect and attention. A neoliberal perspective may not be open to a less scientific based document so a research-based document such as the ELECT was timely in the evolution of early childhood education in Ontario. Davies and Bansel discussed the role of neoliberal thinking in schools, “The neoliberal management technologies that were installed included increased exposure to competition, increased accountability measures and the implementation of performance goals in the contracts of management” (2007). Rose (1999) defined neoliberalism as practice that produces docile subjects who are tightly governed but define themselves as free (Davies & Bansel, 2007). Neoliberalism has been indoctrinated in education in Canada and the U.S. so to introduce a document in early childhood education based on a more democratic way of thinking may not have been enough to convince key stakeholders about the importance of the profession. The question now is whether we are ready to move past this comfortable place of being in our practice, to advocate for a more democratic way of teaching and learning in Ontario?

Movements outside of Ontario such as those in New Zealand, Italy and Sweden have inspired our provincial government to look at alternatives in early childhood education, ones that may push our thinking even further than the ELECT document will support. How do we ensure we are ready to embrace more open-ended, critical practices in early childhood education in Ontario? I believe there must be a starting point for every educator and my starting point began when I understood the history and theory behind early learning movements and various pedagogical documents. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 11-13)


Theories in Early Childhood Education

Sociocultural Theory - Barbara Rogoff

Sociocultural Theory

This video reminds me of the authentic child as described by Ryan (2008). Rogoff describes children in Guatemala and how they work alongside the adults and are viewed as contributing to the adult world whereas in the U.S. and Canada children do not have as many opportunities to participate in adult activities as adults typically work away from the home (2012). This again supports that how we view childhood is not a new revelation but rather a myth (Ryan, 2008). Western English-speaking culture has been viewing children and childhood very differently than other parts of the world for many years. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 14)

Despite such a high level textual presence the translation of sociocultural theory into practice has been hampered by the historical commitment the field holds to cognitive-developmentalism” (Edwards, 2007). 

Moss refers to a positivist paradigm as one that values certainty, predictability, universiality, a closed system with predetermined outcomes (2018). Dr. Susan Edwards noticed the same paradigm of positivism in Australia with the dominance of cognitive developmentalism (2007). Edwards goes further to explain that Piaget’s theory of developmentalism was taught as “truth” all the way through university in Australia which parallels the movement in post-secondary levels in Canada (2007). An educator interviewed by Edwards realized that the theory of developmentalism did not work with children from different cultural backgrounds inspiring questions around the validity of developmentalism (2007). Sociocultural theory acknowledges that each participant has their own funds of knowledge (Moll, 2015) to bring to the environment, changing how educators compartmentalize their view of how children learn. Educators in turn bring their funds of knowledge into the classroom and in their work with families (Moll, 2015). Sociocultural theory moves us away from a more prescriptive curricular paradigm, into a more adaptive curriculum where interests and ideas of others play a critical role in learning. Luis Moll speaks to the importance of funds of knowledge in this video below. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 15-16)


Funds of Knowledge

Luis Moll describes the importance of supporting the funds of knowledge that educators, children and families bring to the learning environment. 

Reflective Practice

After watching the following video please reflect on the impact of Western 

education in other parts of the world. What are some of the differences between Western education and education in other parts of the world? What do you think can be done differently in our pedagogical practices in Western education?

Schooling the World Documentary 2010

The Conditioned Child

Patrick Ryan uses the bottom left quadrant to discuss the conditioned child, different from the developing child with an emphasis on culture, history, and subjectivity versus a focus on biology, universality and objectivity (2008). The socially conditioned child rests in the lower half of Ryan's paradigm as part of the sociocultural theory of children as products to be studied under controlled conditions (2008). This would include Locke's tableau rasa which describes children as blank slates to be socialized into socially accepted adults (2016). 


Vygotsky's Contributions to Sociocultural Theory

Vygotsky (pdf)


Theories in Early Childhood Education

Social Constructivism

The reconceptualist movement in early childhood education began in the early 1990’s through publications and conferences (Pacini-Ketchabaw & Pence, 2005, p. 8). “In assuming that our developmentally based curricula are inclusive of all learners, we have been unjust to some students and families. Early childhood educators need critical theory because it enables them to examine the political nature of the curriculum, and in so doing challenges normative views of young children and outdated views of childhood” (Ryan & Blaise, 2012, p. 90). The reconceptualist movement arose out of the need to support all children. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 19)

Social constructivist theory supports perspectives from all involved allowing for community building through co-constructing knowledge. Our best ideas often result from an intense brainstorming session. I frequently experience this when faced with difficult community decisions that are often solved by multiple individuals contributing to a discussion to find a solution that works in the best interest of the community and those it serves. “Another way to change our student’s relationship to knowledge is allowing them to bring their own local knowledge – that which has been constructed through all their lived experiences out of school – to bear in their construction of knowledge in the formal school setting. This is especially important in multicultural contexts” (Fleury & Garrison, 2014, p.36). Working collaboratively to construct new ideas and meanings shifts our thinking not only as individuals but also as a collective. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 20)


It wasn’t until I understood the history of our view of childhood through the works of Ryan (2008) that I began to really understand that knowledge is socially constructed by those living, working and learning together in an environment unique to those individuals (Jackson, B., 2018, p. 17). I would place the theory of social constructivism in the top left quadrant of Ryan’s model, the theory impacting the view of the political child (2008). Rogoff stated, “Social constructivism is the epistemological and philosophical notion that mental activity in constructed from negotiated relationships between individuals and the sociocultural context (Stremmel, 2012, p. 135). I believe that social constructivism takes education a step further, to allow for the co-construction of knowledge between educators, children, families, colleagues and the community. The more input we receive from others, the more our minds expand to incorporate the perspectives of others. I would place social constructivism at the emergent or ethical end of Heydon and Wang’s "Continuum of Curricular Paradigm" with the emergence of ideas in a socially constructed environment (2006, p.33). 

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 21)

Edwards shares her experience with a paradigm change and her concerns with replacing one paradigm with another (2005, p. 139). Ryan provided us with a great example of we can draw on several quadrants of a paradigm to make sense of our ontological view in the "Landscape of Modern Childhood" (2008). Ryan speaks to his preference of the upper left quadrant, of the political child, but does not eliminate the importance of the other quadrants in our historical view of childhood (2018). We cannot forget the important work of others who helped shape our understanding of children and how learning happens. Movement from a sociocultural theory to a theory of social constructivism does not imply educators must shed any knowledge gained from different paradigms. Educators must remain open to change, an evolutionary learning journey with a critical lens that allows for an open mind to understanding the perspectives of others. My concern involves the dominance of developmentalism in our ongoing practice in early childhood education. How do we move past this dominant discourse in Ontario or give ourselves permission to believe in a different paradigm? Seeking international perspectives may provide insight into ways we can revolutionize our practice. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 18-19)


Sociocultural Theory vs. Social Constructivism

Piaget and Vygotsky

The introduction of sociocultural theory in early childhood education began back in the 1930s when Anthropologists such as Margaret Mead studied children in New Guinea, giving children credit for their contributions to society (Ryan, 2008, p. 564). Ryan also speaks to the work of Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development taking place in the same period (2008, p. 564). Both sociocultural theories were opposing the works of developmental positivism and theories presented from those such as Piaget, shifting away from viewing children strictly from a developmental lens or viewing childhood as a natural phenomenon to viewing children as individuals making an impact on the world around them (Ryan, 2008, p. 564). 


Interestingly, constructivist theories have their roots in Piaget and focus on active learners, interacting with the environment with learning as a construction and qualitative reorganization of knowledge structures (Packer & Goicoechea, 2000, p. 28). Ryan discusses the impact of the works from Dewey in the early 1900s with an emphasis on student agency and Bluebond-Langner’s works in the 1970s of her ability to reconstruct children’s perspective regarding their terminal illnesses (2008, p. 573). Both Dewey and Bluebond-Langner provided a different perspective on how children learn, a perspective that placed children as more competent and capable actors in their own lives. Social constructivism or children as social actors are placed in the top left quadrant of Ryan’s paradigm,"Landscape of Modern Childhood" (2008, p. 558). 

Sociocultural theory and social constructivist theory share the view of childhood as something that is culturally or politically constructed, while sociocultural theory alone views children as products that are to be studied and controlled, similar to the view presented in developmentalism (Ryan, 2008, p. 558). Social constructivist theory places children in the top left quadrant of Ryan’s paradigm aligned with the authentic child in the top right quadrant, viewing children as subjects who participate in their own representation (Ryan, 2008, p. 558). 

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 22-23)


International Curricula

Wonders of Learning Exhibit

There's much to see here. So, take your time, look around, and learn all there is to know about this exhibit. 

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International Curricula

The Mosaic Approach

Clark and Moss introduce us to the Mosaic Approach by sharing their project working with three and four-year-old children, later adapted to work with two-year-old children (2015, p. 2). The Mosaic Approach includes a framework for listening to children that includes multi-method ways of listening, that is participatory, reflexive, adaptable, focused on children’s lived experiences, and embedded into practice (Clark & Moss, 2015, p. 7). The multi-methods of listening are based on Malaguzzi’s hundred languages of children or the pedagogy of listening (Edwards, Gandini & Forman, 2012) to verbal and non-verbal voices of children (Clark & Moss, 2015, p. 7). The reflexive approach included in the Mosaic Approach is similar to the process of pedagogical documentation used in Reggio Emilia (Clark & Moss, 2015, p. 9) which we can also find in How Does Learning Happen (2014, p. 21). Clark and Moss take documentation one step further by introducing participatory tools for children to share their perspectives to support the co-construction of knowledge (2015, p. 10). 

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 40-41)

Listening to Young Children

Alison Clark and Peter Moss walk us through ways children can socially construct the classroom environment, using a variety of methods to truly listen to the perspective of the child. 

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Swedish Preschool Curriculum


Preschools in Sweden

  • An integrated system under the lead of the Ministry of Education
  •  80% of children in Sweden are enrolled in Preschool 
  • Available and subsidized for working and unemployed parents 
  • Preschool viewed as the right of the child, not the parent 
  • Families play a large role in the Preschool environment 
  • University educated teachers 
  • “Work Team” collaborates to support individual needs of each child 
  • Democratic environment for teachers, child care attendants, children and families 

(Taguma, M., Litjens, I. & Makowiecki, K., 2013, cited in Jackson, B. & Pusateri, D., 2017)

Quality vs. Meaning-Making

Moss presents meaning-making as a democratic political practice through the use of pedagogical documentation (2016, p. 11). This documentation can be used as an evaluative tool, which involves listening, reflection, critique, dialogue, deeper understanding and the co-construction of knowledge (Moss, 2016, p. 11). Children are evaluated through the use of documentation in Swedish preschools as a democratic process involving the voices of children, parents, teachers and staff of the preschool (Jackson, B. & Pusateri, D., 2017). 

Swedish View of Childhood

Swedish children are viewed as equal contributors in society, along with parents, educators and other children (Jackson, B. & Pusateri, D., 2017). Swedish parents have a long history of deep involvement in their child’s preschool education (Jackson, B. & Pusateri, D., 2017). Parents place value on a child’s imagination more than a child’s ability to work hard (Taguma, M., Litjens, I. & Makowiecki, K., 2013). This view of children may have inspired many politicians and policy makers through history to develop an educational framework with a focus on social pedagogy. (Jackson, B. & Pusateri, D., 2017). A pedagogy that promotes holistic development and lifelong learning, rather than a framework based on developmental milestones (Jackson & Pusateri, 2017). 

“Swedish culture has traditionally seen childhood as the “golden age” of life. Middle-class parents organise their lives around their children’s activities, and negotiate with them over how to spend the parents’ annual five weeks of holidays” (Taguchi, H.L. & Munkammar, I., 2003). 


Ecological Model

One aspect of the Swedish preschool curriculum that is missing in Ontario’s pedagogy for the early years is that of an ecological model. The preschool is responsible for ensuring children are introduced to a sustainable future, “The preschool should put great emphasis on issues concerning the environment and nature conservation. An ecological approach and a positive belief in the future should typify the preschool’s activities. The preschool should contribute to ensuring children acquire a caring attitude to nature and the environment and understand that they are part of nature’s recycling process” (Skolverket, 2010, p. 7). Many programs in Ontario are beginning to understand the benefits of learning in nature and have been inspired to incorporate more nature into the daily program but I wonder how much children are learning about sustaining the future of humankind. Do we avoid these conversations in our practice in Ontario because we fear children will not understand the meaning? 

Taguma, Litjens, and Makowiecki speak to children’s agency in Swedish curriculum and opportunities for children to express themselves and have influence over the content of the preschool (2013, p. 32). The researchers continue to describe the Swedish curriculum as addressing the importance of using the outdoors as an arena for exploration, learning and child-agency based play, raising ecological and environmental awareness (2013, p. 32). The Child Care and Early Years Act (2015) in Ontario mandates that children are outdoors for a minimum of two hours per day but How Does Learning Happen only speaks briefly to children’s connection with nature (OME, 2014, p.21).  The foundation of well-being in How Does Learning Happen (2014) does discuss some additional considerations for educators regarding the move in early learning towards a more natural outdoor environment but there is no guidance for educators to support their understanding of why this is important for children and humanity. I believe educators need more information about the importance of an ecological model to provide inspiration for increased exposure to nature for themselves and the children. I wonder if a follow up document to Ontario’s current pedagogical document could speak to an ecological or environmental model, given the need for future care of our natural environment.

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 34-35)

Te Whariki: Early Childhood Curriculum


A New Zealand Curriculum

The Te Whariki curriculum has been in place in early childhood settings in New Zealand for over twenty years. The curriculum was developed collaboratively between the Ministry of Education and the Maori people to incorporate the values and learning goals of the Maori people, alongside Western values already established in education through colonialism. Ritchie and Buzzelli discuss Te Whariki as, “…focus on process rather than predetermined measurable outcomes is consistent with its learner-centered, holistic, integrated, and sociocultural philosophy” (2012, p. 148).  Te Whariki contains four principles, empowerment, holistic development, family and community, and relationships that are interwoven with five curriculum strands (NZMOE, 2017, p. 10). The five curriculum strands include wellbeing, belonging, contribution, communication and exploration (NZMOE, 2017, p. 10).  

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 31)

Contributions to Early Childhood Education

  Te Whariki has made many contributions to reconceptualizing our practice in early childhood education. The one contribution most relevant to this discussion centres on Te Whariki’s non-prescriptive orientation to curriculum that values educator reflexivity, knowledge and practical wisdom (Ritchie & Buzzelli, 2012, p. 149). Educator reflexivity is beginning to give rise to a more socially constructed curriculum by understanding that educators bring their own beliefs and values to the early learning environment as well as impact the knowledge construction taking place in the classroom. “Reinharz (1997: 5) argues that the many selves the researcher brings to the field come into three broad categories: research-based selves; brought selves (our personal and historical baggage); and our situationally-created selves” (Mukherji & Albon, 2015, p. 31). Educators cannot step into a classroom without bringing their own funds of knowledge (Moll, 1995) or their brought selves with personal and historical baggage (Mukherji & Albon, 2015, p. 31). Reflexive educators are considered researchers, open to new ideas, different values and involved in ongoing professional learning. Reflexive educators regularly practice reflection to understand their impact on the early learning setting and to understand the influence of their brought selves. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 32)

Transformation of Practice

We can observe many of the approaches unique to the Te Whariki curriculum in Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years. One difference would be the addition a section of information explaining theoretical influences in Te Whariki. Theories used during the updating of New Zealand’s pedagogical document, the 2017 version of Te Whariki, discusses "Underpinning Theories and Approaches" (2017, p. 60). A similar format would be helpful in How Does Learning Happen? to support the theoretical understanding of its pedagogical approach. An addendum to How Does Learning Happen?, sharing the varied theoretical perspectives that contributed to the creation of the pedagogical guide, would support all educators in their research and understanding of early childhood education in current times in Ontario. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 33)

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The Reggio Emilia Approach


A Philosophical Approach

Many early learning environments in Canada and the United States have implemented Reggio inspired programs based on the world-renowned educational philosophy from Italy. The Reggio Emilia philosophy was developed by a community in Italy after the second world war when societies were seeking a more democratic way of being. An educator named Loris Malaguzzi was inspired by this community in Italy, seeking a more democratic education for their children, so he became the philosophical leader and helped open the first municipal preschool in the 1960s (Stremmel, 2012, p. 134). Stremmel describes the Reggio Emilia approach as not being a prescribed curriculum but a philosophical approach with a mindset that believes education is a process of knowledge construction and the right of each child (2012, p. 134).  

(Jackson, B., 2018, p. 37)

Socially Constructed Practice

Malaguzzi (1998) believed children were competent individuals with rights and capable from birth of forming relationships and making meaning of the world around them (Stremmel, 2012, p. 135). Malaguzzi’s view of children would place his perspective of childhood in the top left quadrant of Patrick Ryan’s paradigm, the political child or the social actor, a child who participates in his or her own representation (2008, p. 559). Dahlberg and Moss (2006) describe the Reggio approach as viewing children from a social constructivist perspective, as powerful agents who can challenge and transform ideas through discourse with adults and other children (Stremmel, 2012, p. 135). Both Malaguzzi (Gandini, 2011) and Ryan point to the works of John Dewey (1897) as developing the underlying philosophy that student agency continues to inform educational theory allowing the theory to fit into the view of social actors engaging in constructing meaning (2008, p. 572). 

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 37-38)

Environment as the Third Teacher

The Reggio Emilia approach also considers the environment as the third teacher to support the educational and cultural values of the school and community (Stremmel, 2012, p. 136). This aligns with the Swedish preschool curriculum and its belief in the preschool being at the centre of democratic practice, involving children, staff, educators, families and the community. Like the Swedish preschools, Reggio schools share responsibility with families in the organization and design of the schools and in learning activities (Stremmel, 2012, p. 139). The pedagogical approaches in preschool education in Sweden and Reggio Emilia share similar underpinnings in theory based on democratic values and the co-construction of knowledge. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, p.38)

Educators as Researchers

Educators play an important role in Reggio schools with their ability to be constantly observing, reflecting, discussing and debating what is taking place in their programs (Stremmel, 2012, p. 137). Dahlberg (2007) describes teaching in a democratic context as one that is autonomous in beliefs, behaviours, actions and initiatives but constrained through documentation, dialogue, critical reflection and deconstruction (Langford, 2010, p. 123). Educators teaching in Reggio schools in Italy and Swedish preschools in Sweden appear to be working from a place of democracy in their practice. 

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 38-39)

Emergent or Ethical Paradigm

The Reggio Emilia experience is one that is socially constructed, “…learning to learn through experimentation with many different contents and forms; learning to communicate with others through the use of many languages; and learning through reflection with others and self-regulation” (OECD, 2004, p. 13). The pedagogical focus in the Reggio approach is the construction of the child’s identity, values, communication ability and learned competencies, rather than the content of knowledge (OECD, 2004, p. 13). The pedagogical focus in Ontario has been one of skill acquirement, obtained by moving through the domains and root skills found in the ELECT document (2014). Not to say that these indicators are used as a checklist to ensure each child is moving through this knowledge acquisition but in making the "Continuum of Development" the foundation of a pedagogical document supports the promotion of skill acquisition. The "Continuum of Development" also walks us through ages at which these skills are most typically observed in young children. An early childhood educator, not versed in educational theory, may use the continuum as a way of viewing children’s competencies, rather than practicing from a place of ethics and values. The "Continuum of Development" shares a very prescriptive pedagogical focus, different from an emergent philosophy observed in the Reggio experience. The "Continuum of Development" in both the ELECT document and in Excerpts from ELECT appear to encourage a more prescribed or efficient curriculum (Heydon & Wang, 2006, p.). 

(Jackson, B., 2018, pp. 39)

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