Challenges and resolutions to early years literacy approaches in two selected sites in Norway and England

Beckley, Pat

March 2011

Thesis or dissertation

© 2011 Pat Beckley. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The study considered how contemporary global forces and drivers from international organisations led to the formulation, according to Kennedy (2006:299) of ‘universalised norms and best practices’. In order to explore this contention an aspect of practice, namely early years literacy approaches, was scrutinised. It was discovered that international recommendations promoted literacy as a crucial skill and as a holistic approach. These recommendations were incorporated into national policies in Norway and England, where approaches to early years practice were deemed by OECD (2006) to differ in the respective contexts. The empirical study sought to scrutinise this aspect of early years provision in order to attempt to identify challenges posed by a similar global context and European guidelines on differing national contexts and the subsequent challenges and resolutions involved in the implementation of the international recommendations and resulting national policies at a local level. The major research question was therefore;

What are the challenges and resolutions to early years literacy approaches in two selected sites in Norway and England.

Qualitative methodology was used for the empirical study based on case studies of two sites in the different contexts, which included scrutiny of documentation, interviews and observations of practice. Validity, reliability and ethical issues were addressed. Analysis of the findings considered the two literacy elements. Literacy as a crucial skill concerned formal literacy skills and child-initiated activities. Literacy as a holistic approach featured consideration of the whole child and the team around the child. It covered aspects incorporating children’s learning, the adult’s role, professional liaison, diversity, parental influence, accountability, resources and competition. Resolutions to the challenges were noted throughout the thesis, including the pragmatic strategies devised in the settings. It was found that new aspects of practice were implemented within existing philosophical approaches, the values and beliefs of practitioners working in the contexts and reflected the communities served by the settings.

Centre for Educational Studies, The University of Hull
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