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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education and Sport : Education

Postgraduate Course: Froebel, Social Justice and the Early Years (EDUA11404)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education and Sport CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course forms part of the MSc Education (Early Childhood Practice and Froebel) and provides an in-depth exploration of the vision of social and political change at the heart of Froebelian philosophy linked to current social justice research, practices and policies.
Course description This course draws parallels between historical developments of Froebel's times, such as the rise of the nation state and ideas of nationalism, and our current times of divisive and reactionary political narratives and emotional tropes. Students will be encouraged to consider the relationship between social divisions, life experiences and academic achievement and to challenge formalised, hierarchical and rigid approaches to children's learning.

This course prompts students to reflect on the vision of social and political change at the heart of Froebelian philosophy. Unlike in Froebel's times, early learning and care have moved to the forefront of political agendas on a national and global level, and their significance for early intervention and addressing social inequalities are increasingly recognized. The course will ask participants to identify and consider how to develop strategies that address key legal and policy requirements, obligations and entitlements relating to challenging discriminatory practice. This will include a critical analysis of strategies such as 'teaching for diversity' and 'teaching for equity'.

It will equip students to develop their skills for disruptive and innovative practice and policy management, and to increase all children's visibility and rights. It advances Froebelian principles by bringing his thinking into conversation with contemporary social justice theories such as critical race theory (CRT), recognition, redistribution and representation theories, inclusion and intersectionality. The course will foster students' critical skills of analyzing their own positionality in order to critically reflect on which theories they choose and how they are operationalized for their practice, policy, research and activism.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesStudents taking this course will be expected to have taken 'Pedagogy and Practice of Friedrich Froebel for the early years'. If students have not previously completed this course, but have relevant experience on childhood practice and an understanding of Froebelian principles, they should contact the course organiser and may be able to access the course at their discretion.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 15/01/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay/Creative Artifact: (100% weighting)

Students choose either:
A written assignment - Students write a 4,000 word essay
A student-led creative artifact production followed by a critical narrative analysis (equivalent to a 4000 word essay). This can be presented in any form, written or audio/visual (e.g. could include a visual/acoustic method like a short podcast, a short movie or artifact/object etc).

The time of the audio/visual output in total would be around 25-30 minutes. Students are free to choose the medium of sharing their critical analysis in relation to the below:
The essay or the student-led creative artifact production will focus on an aspect of Froebelian pedagogy and its links to issues of social justice in early childhood, based on a critical and reflexive engagement with relevant literature, policies and practices. It will also include a critical discussion of how to challenge discriminatory practices and early childhood inequalities and promote a social justice early childhood world. The essay or the student-led creative artifact production will include a critical reflection on the students' own positionality in order to analyse how Froebelian ideas and other theories and approaches are operationalized in their practice, policy, research and activism.
Feedback Formative feedback opportunities will be provided throughout the course, for example through workshop group discussions in class, online group discussions facilitated on Learn, formative tasks, feedback on essay plans.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of how social, historical and political contexts impact on early childhood policy and practice.
  2. Critically evaluate contemporary ideas concerning social justice, diversity, anti-discrimination and equity in education.
  3. Confidently and sensitively analyse and reflect on social justice practices and approaches in early childhood settings.
  4. Demonstrate critical understandings of excellence and equity, historically and in current policy and/or practice.
  5. Demonstrate critical reflexivity in thinking about students' own practice and/or understandings of early childhood.
Reading List
Brehony, K.J. (2000) English Revisionist Froebelians and the Schooling of the Urban Poor, in M. Hilton and P. Hirsch (eds) Practical Visionaries: Women Education and Social Progress 1790-1930,183-200, Harlow: Pearson education Ltd.
Brooker, L., & Edwards, S. (Eds.). (2010). Engaging play. Open University Press.
Bruce, T., Findlay, A., Read, J., and Scarborough, M., (eds) Recurring Themes in Education. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
Cannella, G. S. (1997). Deconstructing Early Childhood Education: Social Justice and Revolution. Rethinking Childhood, Volume 2. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 275 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001.
Cannella, G. S., & Viruru, R. (2004). Childhood and postcolonization: Power, education, and contemporary practice. Psychology Press.
Darling, E., (2017) Womanliness in the Slums: A Free Kindergarten in Early Twentieth-century Edinburgh, Gender and History. Vol. 28, 2.
Davin, A. 1996. Growing up poor: home, school and street in London, 1870-1914 London: Rivers Oram.
Hardy, L., (1912) The Diary of a Free Kindergarten.
Hendrick, H. 2003. Child welfare: historical dimensions, contemporary debate. Bristol: Policy Press.
Konstantoni, K., & Emejulu, A. (2017). When intersectionality met childhood studies: the dilemmas of a travelling concept. Children's Geographies, 15(1), 6-22.
May, H. (2006). 'Being Froebelian': An Antipodean analysis of the history of advocacy and early childhood. History of Education, 35(2), 245-262.
Orr, R (2003) My right to play. A child with complex needs. England: Open University. Berkshire.
Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., & Taylor, A. (Eds.). (2015). Unsettling the colonial places and spaces of early childhood education. Routledge.
Platt L. 2005. Discovering Child Poverty: The Creation of a Policy Agenda from 100 to the Present. Policy Press: Bristol.
Read, J., (2010) Gutter to Garden: Historical Discourses of Risk in Interventions in Working Class Children's Street Play, in Children and Society DOI 10.1111/j.1099-0860.2010.00293x
Smedley, S., & Hoskins, K. (2017). Learning to be Froebelian: student teachers' life histories 1952-1965. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 25(1), 36-54.
Smith, K., Alexander, K., & Campbell, S. (Eds.). (2017). Feminism (s) in Early Childhood: Using Feminist Theories in Research and Practice (Vol. 4). Springer.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills creative presentation and ICT skills, collaborative working, critical and analytical skills applied to reading and writing, discussion skills, academic writing skills.
KeywordsFroebel,childhood practice,early years pedagogy,social justice,anti-discriminatory practice
Course organiserDr Kristina Konstantoni
Tel: (0131 6)51 6305
Course secretaryMr Craig Russell
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