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Resourcing early learners: new networks, new actors
bookposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by S Nichols, J Rowsell, H Nixon, Sophia Rainbird
The landscape of early childhood education and care is changing. Governments world-wide are assuming increasing authority in relation to child-rearing in the years before school entry, beyond the traditional role in assisting parents to do the best they can by their children. As part of a social agenda aimed at forming citizens well prepared to play an active part in a globalised knowledge economy, the idea of ‘early learning’ expresses the necessity of engaging caregivers right from the start of children’s lives. Nichols, Rowsell, Rainbird, and Nixon investigate this trend over three years, in two countries, and three contrasting regions, by setting themselves the task of tracing every service and agent offering resources under the banner of early learning. Far from a dry catalogue, the study involves in-depth ethnographic research in fascinating spaces such as a church-run centre for African refugee women and children, a state-of-the-art community library and an Australian country town. Included is an unprecedented inventory of an entire suburban mall. Richly visually documented, the study employs emerging methods such as Google-mapping to trace the travels of actual parents as they search for particular resources. Each chapter features a context investigated in this large, international study: the library, the mall, the clinic, and the church. The author team unravels new spaces and new networks at work in early childhood literacy and development.