Educational policy for citizenship in the early years in Australia

Ailwood, Joanne, Brownlee, Joanne M., Walker, Sue, Cobb-Moore, Charlotte, Boulton-Lewis, Gillian M., Johansson, Eva, & Wainman, Briony Mary (2011) Educational policy for citizenship in the early years in Australia. Journal of Educational Policy, 26(5), pp. 641-653.

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This paper explores how young children are constructed in educational policy for citizenship in Australia, investigating tensions between early childhood educational discourses that construct young children as active citizens and the broader discourses of citizenship in Australian educational policy. There is a widespread discourse within early childhood education that regards young children as citizens and democratic participants in their own lives. This view is a reflection of the oft cited Article 12 in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC 1989). However, educational policy and curriculum for citizenship in Australia, by and large, adheres to age and stage understandings of children, implicitly deeming young children unable to conceptualise abstract ideas of what it means to ‘be a good citizen’. This paper is located in the borders and intersections between discourses of early childhood education, young children as active participants in their own lives and what it means to be an active citizen in Australia. We are concerned with the interweaving of these ideas and how they are played out in educational policy making. This is an important perspective to take for governing and policy making are exercises in harnessing existing ideas and discourses, thereby rendering strategies and tactics for managing populations thinkable and sayable (Rose 1999). The ‘views from the margins’ (Burman 2008, p. 7) can provide alternative perspectives on policymaking, illuminating discursive tactics and strategies.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 41464
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Policy analysis, Active Citizenship, Democratic Participation, Early Childhood Education
DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2011.587538
ISSN: 0268-0939
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is an electronic version of an article published in [Journal of Educational Policy (2011)]. [Journal of Educational Policy] is available online at informaworldTM
Deposited On: 27 Apr 2011 22:19
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2015 07:39

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