ERIC Number: ED451941
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Cultural Complexity That Affects Young Children's Contemporary Growth, Change, and Learning.
Based on the view that the group orientation to multicultural education reinforces group stereotyping and seldom allows acknowledgement of diverse children's unique capabilities and differences or helps children build self-identity while learning to appreciate others, this paper presents and discusses contemporary cultures of young children's lives relative to a notion of "lived" early childhood curriculum that is developmentally and culturally conscious. Using an ethnographic and heuristics perspective, the life stories and schooling experiences of five young children were synthesized to convey the contemporary cultures of young children and families. The resulting vignettes with contextual information and the researcher's heuristics were analyzed from the perspectives of developmentally and culturally appropriate practice, cultural pluralism, critical pedagogy, and emancipatory knowledge. The paper highlights these vignettes to argue that the predominant view of multiculturalism incorporating an everlasting power struggle no longer provides a congruent intellectual framework for appreciating young children's current and future living and learning situations. Young children are shown to exhibit a capability of deconstructing power issues in a peaceful and empowering fashion. A model of cultural complexity in early childhood education incorporating awareness of social and cultural pluralism, critical pedagogy, and emancipatory knowledge in order to value multiple perspectives is presented. The paper advocates a "lived" curriculum that involves a "teachable moment" orientation, responding to each individual child's emerging interests, and promoting shared-power decisions and negotiations in learning and teaching. (Contains 76 references.) (KB)
Descriptors: Child Development, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Influences, Cultural Pluralism, Culturally Relevant Education, Curriculum Development, Curriculum Problems, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Early Childhood Education, Educational Practices, Elementary School Curriculum, Multicultural Education, Power Structure, Preschool Curriculum, Reflective Teaching, Teacher Role, Young Children
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001).