Learning opportunities: The production and practice of kindergarten literacy curricula in an era of change

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This case study using ethnographic tools was designed to identify and gain analytic insight into the dimensions and dynamics of kindergarten literacy curricula during an era of early childhood education and care reform. Focal questions concerned how literacy curricula were produced and the ways in which children and their linguistic and multi-modal funds of knowledge may have been implicated in curricular production and practice. Focusing on one public school kindergarten in Ontario, Canada, and drawing on curriculum theory, actor-network theory, and multi-literacies, the study found curricula to be plural and dynamic and produced through networks that included the provincial government, school district, commerce, teachers, children, and discourses of early childhood education. Findings suggested that children’s funds of knowledge were not part of the official curriculum, yet children translated the curricular effects of other actors in the network or created alternate assemblages to enact literacy practices that more reflected their interests and knowledge. The study contributes to the dialogue on literacy curricula in early childhood education and care and hopes to provide information that can help policy-makers and educators (re)consider how networks might promote expansive literacy learning opportunities for children.

Keywords: early childhood education; early literacy; early-years curriculum; funds of knowledge

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2012.704946

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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