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Introduction

  • Marilyn J. Narey
Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 2)

This brief exchange took place in an urban school classroom in the northeastern United States. To many early childhood educators across the globe, this story is all too familiar. The current push for educational accountability and reform has only reinforced what Eisner (2006) calls the “production vision of education” (p. 3), wherein schools are expected to work with assembly-line efficiency to achieve a prescribed set of outcomes. Although most education professionals would contest the view that our work with young children is only “important for the test,” we have yet to articulate an alternative vision to guide our collaborative efforts. Secure in the assumption that it is important to promote young children's language, literacy, and learning, we do not typically step back to examine why this work is important; instead, we jump ahead to search for methods and techniques that align with the most recent mandate. As Eisner points out, “We often pursue aims and engage in practices that have become a deep part of our sub-consciousness without ever making them conscious” (p. 4). To make sense of the current state of our field and envision its future development, we must delve into the sea of meaning underlying our everyday work in classrooms, administrative offices, and universities. In other words, we must consider what we mean when we talk about “language,” “literacy,” and “learning.” This requires that we reflect on the varieties and uses of language, interrogate what it means to be literate, and develop our own understanding of why learning is of value to the child and to the society as a whole.

Keywords

Early Childhood Education English Language Learner Early Childhood Teacher Early Childhood Classroom Early Childhood Curriculum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

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  • Marilyn J. Narey

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