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Do ECE Public Policies Consider Young Children's Agency? A Study in São Paulo, Brazil

The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children

ISBN: 978-1-78052-074-2, eISBN: 978-1-78052-075-9

Publication date: 5 August 2011


Purpose: The present study is derived from a research project, which aimed to verify how the ECE public network in the state of São Paulo understand young children's agency. Despite ECE national guidelines, some municipalities have decided to use standard textbooks, developed and commercialized by private educational organizations in the format of booklet series. These materials, referred to as Private Systems of Education (PSEs), are the same for all children, based on the idea of normal development and learning.

Methods: The question that guided this inquiry was: why are these materials used? The research was organized in three stages: (1) identification of public educational networks within the State of São Paulo that were using the PSEs in ECE; (2) analysis of the compatibility between the materials offered by PSEs and the ECE national guidelines; (3) interpretation of why these materials are used, considering the new conceptions of childhood and ECE presented in legislation and recently published research.

Findings: Concerning policy-making, the research provides corroborative evidence for how difficult it is to implement a new law. Data also revealed that some municipalities were unprepared to take over ECE. Children's agency, in its turn, is far from the pedagogical proposals. The use of PSEs indicates a contrast between the potential of children and the opportunities that are offered to them. Thus, playing and interaction have no relevant place in everyday education.



Letícia Nascimento, M. (2011), "Do ECE Public Policies Consider Young Children's Agency? A Study in São Paulo, Brazil", Bass, L.E. and Kinney, D.A. (Ed.) The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 287-305.



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