Barnehagerevolusjon! : Tidlig læring for sosial utjevning. Kritiske lesninger av samtidige barnehagepolitiske endringer
Title Kindergarten Revolution! Early learning for Social Cohesion: Critical readings of contemporary changes in Early Childhood Education Politics Theme It`s great social changes in our time, especially related to children in preschool age. UNICEF (2008) points out that there is a general trend for western industrial countries that the majority of children in preschool age spend their daytime in institutions. In Norway, the proportion of children (1-5 years) in day care increased from 36 percent in 1990 to over 96 percent in 2010. This social change has contributed to making kindergarten a growing political interest. Some politicians have named this change a revolution – A kindergarten revolution. This dissertation focuses on contemporary changes in Norwegian kindergarten politics. The changes that have caused this so-called „revolution‟ have been focused on making the kindergarten an educational offer for all children, through increasing the number of kindegartens and lower the parental fees. In the wake of this quantitative focus on day care, the focus has now been moved to the kindergartens content and quests. This dissertation deals with a critical issue of kindergarten politics, which has been expressed both during and following the quantitative reform: Early learning for social cohesion. The argument that early learning is a vital and necessary measure for social cohesion in Norway has recently grown in strength. Through my analysis I seek to find the sources that form the basis for this argument, and the scientific traditions on which these sources are based. Methodological and Theoretical approaches Throughout the thesis I approach the subject in two different ways. First, I search the sources as a basis for arguments for changes in kindergarten politics. Second, I do critical readings of these sources, through a critical theoretical approach. I put the Norwegian philosopher Hans Skjervheims texts as the basis for the critical readings. Skjervheim is seen as a pioneer of the philosophical tradition that in the early sixties was critical of the positivistic academics in the humanities and social sciences. His criticism of the established pedagogy was that it to a large extent built on a positivistic tradition of sciences that helped objectify human beings. Skjervheim claimed this view of knowledge turned education into a technical practice. I´ve found 5 Skjervheim criticism of the Norwegian educational system in the 60 -, 70 - and 80-century interesting as a basis for analyzing the current kindergarten politics. A major change in the Norwegian kindergarten sector in recent years is that the kindergarten is now seen as the first part of education process. This means that kindergartens have changed from being a subject of social policy, to be an educational policy issue. In this context it is interesting to make use of Skjervheims perspectives. Some central findings The focus on the importance of early learning for social cohesion has helped change the Norwegian kindergarten‟s educational content. The Nordic day care model has in an international perspective been praised for having a holistic approach to learning within a social pedagogical tradition. This tradition is now being transformed into something more similar to the English/US and French preparatory school tradition. My analysis shows that the sources underlying these changes are largely based in efficacy studies from countries that are not comparable to Norwegian conditions. Essentially this is all about studies of preschool interventions targeted at children of disadvantaged families in the United States from the 1960s onwards. These studies are based on a positivistic research tradition, a tradition that I show violates the human vision that the Norwegian kindergarten‟s educational content has been traditionally buildt on, as reflected in both the Norwegian national Curriculum for kindergartens.