Internationally, school readiness is increasingly the rationale for early childhood education and care. This is the case in England, yet the statutory English Early Years Foundation Stage framework for children 0-5 years also requires practitioners to listen to children’s voices: discourse indicates dissonance between school readiness and listening to children’s voices so this paper discusses an intrinsic case study that investigated beliefs and practices of 25 practitioners in the English midlands regarding school readiness and listening to children’s voices. In survey responses and semi-structured interviews, practitioners indicated they listen to – and act on – children’s voices but are confused about school readiness; their beliefs and practices align more strongly with social pedagogy than pre-primary schoolification. Findings carry messages for policymakers regarding the need for coherent policy concerning the purpose of early childhood education and care, with practitioner training and a framework aligned fully with that policy. A larger study is indicated.
Bibliographical noteJane Murray is Associate Professor and Co-Director at the Centre for Education and Research, University of Northampton, UK. She has published extensively on early childhood education and social inclusion, and is Editor of the International Journal of Early Years Education.
- School readiness
- children’s voices
- early childhood education and care
- pre-primary approach
- social pedagogy