Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
School of Education
Few would dispute the importance of equity, inclusion and belonging in early childhood education and care, yet translation into meaningful practice rarely centres the priorities of historically divested communities. The national learning framework for early childhood in Australia is the Early Years Learning Framework, positioning the child as a capable agent and describing inclusive, culturally competent practice. This article presents part of a larger study investigating educators’ beliefs and practices when using culturally diverse literature to address the Early Years Learning Framework’s diversity principles. A critical theoretical framework enables a robust examination of how the Early Years Learning Framework constructs, maintains, legitimises and/or disaffirms social inequities, implicitly probing how literacy education mediate/s messages children receive about their identity, cultures and roles in society. The findings suggest that instead of pursuing anti-racism and transformative justice, educators’ pedagogical practices were likely to legitimise existing racist structures. The findings are discussed in relation to 20 recommendations published by a consortium of experts in the updating of the Early Years Learning Framework. The implementation of the updated Early Years Learning Framework must act on questions of justice for whom and according to whom. To move to ideologies, methodologies and pedagogies of potentiality, it is necessary to interrogate and reject oppressive and harmful practices, inaccurate and insensitive portrayals, and pedagogies damaging to Black, Indigenous, and other communities of Color which this study shows have beenevident in the EYLF to date.
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