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Clark, J.A. (2015). Early childhood education: Fracture lines of social context and neural development. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 18, 80 - 86.
Critical Review Paper
Early childhood education: Fracture lines of social context and neural development
The debate between academics in the Listener about early childhood education raises issues which warrant further critical examination.
One issue concerns the weight to be given to families over schools/ centres when it comes to children’s learning. Too often the matter is considered in terms of within school and beyond school dualism of factors but there are significant problems with this way of seeing things. A better way is to adopt a proximal/distal continuum whereby all factors are taken into account, regardless of their importance.
A second issue centres on what is required to maximise the learning of young children. Given the centrality of their neural development and the links to family circumstances, it is essential that teachers and parents have a sound grasp of the underlying neural structure of learning to underpin successful learning by all children.
Key words: Learning; home-school factors; curriculum, Te Whariki, brain development.
A Listener article (Woulfe, 2014) would not usually elicit an academic response, but when it involves the likes of Professors John Hattie (Auckland/Melbourne), Helen May (Otago) and Richie Poulson (Otago) as well as Dr Sarah Alexander (ChildForum Early Childhood Network) and Dr Ken Blaiklock (Unitec) then you know something is afoot. There are two aspects of the academic disagreement which warrant additional comment.
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