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New understandings of cultural diversity and the implications for early childhood policy, pedagogy, and practice

Theoretical and empirical research is challenging long-held assumptions about how culture shapes children's thinking, emotions, and actions. No longer is 'culture' thought to be a family-based characteristic that operates upon children's development in predictable ways. Instead, culture is considered inseparable from the developmental process, in which children use cultural artefacts from multiple contexts to make sense of experience, and modify the cultural artefacts they employ. This dynamic model of individual variation, which defies broad or stable categorizations, poses a significant challenge to policy-makers and practitioners who seek a systematic approach to quality in early childhood education (ECE) programs. The 'food, fashions, and festivals' approach to cultural diversity in preschool classrooms is insufficient when learning is understood to be a cultural process that varies across time and place. Findings from a multi-disciplinary review of literature on culture and development are presented and implications for ECE pedagogy, practice, and policy are discussed. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Literature Review

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