In this assignment I will be comparing and contrasting two curricula: the national â€˜Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stageâ€™ (F.S.) in England, introduced in 2000, which I followed as an early years practitioner until the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (DfES, 2007), and the localised, Reggio Emilia (R.E.) system in Italy, an approach founded by Lori Malaguzzi in the town of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy. I will explore what these curricula say regarding how and what children should learn and who decided this.
A childâ€™s experiences can vary depending on the time, place, cultural influences and expectations, which they are exposed to. Childrenâ€™s ...view middle of the document...
pushing pre-packaged knowledgeâ€, (Edwards, Gandini, Forman, 1998, p.50). This statement could be used to describe how practitioners were applying the F.S. across England in 2000.
In England, since the Industrial Revolution, we have strived to educate children to be a workforce fit for the socio-economic purpose, with the main focus on academic achievements in Literacy and Numeracy, rather than the childâ€™s physical and emotional well being. Adults have viewed children in England as being unable to construct knowledge for themselves and so being in need of implicit instruction. This contrasts with the view of children taken by places such as Reggio Emilia in Italy, which historically have viewed children as people who should be listened to and valued from a very young age by their family and local community.
The introduction of a national curriculum for primary and secondary schooling in 1988 was a pivotal moment for early years education in England. For the first time, subject based objectives for children to achieve were centrally defined. This in turn led to downward pressure on parents and early childhood practitioners to get young children â€˜ready for schoolâ€™. A series of government programmes to try and standardise available early years provisions such as, Desirable Outcomes for Childrenâ€™s Learning on Entering Compulsory Education (SCAA, 1996), which described national curriculum subject areas to which children should aspire to achieve by the age of five was introduced. This government focus on an educational agenda for early childhood led to the introduction of the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage in 2000, (F.S.). ([B] 2, [C] 6, [S] 2). This guidance claimed to describe an integrated learning approach however its emphasis was clearly Literacy and Numeracy. Margaret Hodge MBE MP states in the introduction that this curriculum â€œâ€¦.is about developing early communication, literacy and Numeracy skills that will prepare young children for key stage 1 of the national curriculum,â€ (QCA, 2000).
The Foundation Stage curriculum is written in an academic style with areas of set out. It contains separate areas of learning, with a series of stepping-stones and goals for each. Children moved through these stepping-stones with specific goals to be achieved, and were led into the base line assessment system on entry into school. It offered a clear, measurable outline for parents and practitioners to follow throughout the country and eliminated the sometimes-varied experiences young children encountered.
The F.S., written by government policy makers strove to raise quality and standards by making children learn by rote and generally to be passive participants in learning, with Ofsted inspecting settings not on individual childrenâ€™s achievements and active learning abilities but on the settings ability to prove its overall performance.
In contrast the R.E. curriculum is child centred, not with the...