The analysis carried out in this chapter will explore the issue of equal access to educational opportunities in the context of the current reform trends that affect the governance, regulation and funding of early childhood education and care (ECEC) provision in Italy. Whereas up till now the governmental responsibility for services for those under three (called nidi d’infanzia) and preschool institutions for children aged three to six (called scuole dell’infanzia) was split across the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Education, since Law 107/2015 was enacted, an integrated system of ECEC was created under the Ministry of Education. Research has shown that the way ECEC systems are structured (split or integrated ministerial responsibility), regulated (centralized or decentralized governance), funded and managed (public, subsidized or private provision) might have a significant impact on the accessibility and quality of early childhood services (Gambaro et al. 2014). These aspects are therefore crucial to our discussion, as they might have an important role to play in providing favourable or, rather, hindering conditions for processes of transformative change to happen within ECEC institutions. On the other hand, research has also revealed that providing favourable conditions at macro-level is not sufficient (UNESCO 2015) as, in order to understand differential enrolment and thus change it, ‘we need to adopt an ecological and systemic approach combining elements of ECEC policies (the macro-level), institutional cultures and procedures (the meso-level) and family characteristics (the micro-level)’ (Vandendroeck 2015, p. 107). In fact, it is well documented by empirical research that the agency of all actors involved in decision-making processes within ECEC institutions – coordinators and coaches, practitioners and families – plays an important part in deepening professional pedagogical understandings which, in turn, contribute to improving the inclusiveness and quality of ECEC practices (Jensen and Bradi 2017; Peeters and Sharmahd 2014). In light of these considerations, the analysis conducted in this chapter will examine the conditions upon which the reciprocal interactions between governmental reforms and bottom-up policy advocacy processes can sustain ECEC services’ institutional change and pedagogical innovation for responsively addressing the newly emerging needs of children and families in contemporary society as well as nourishing their potentialities.

Early childhood education and care in times of transition: the role of policy reforms and advocacy processes in improving the accessibility of services for young children and their families.

Lazzari Arianna
;
Balduzzi Lucia
2020

Abstract

The analysis carried out in this chapter will explore the issue of equal access to educational opportunities in the context of the current reform trends that affect the governance, regulation and funding of early childhood education and care (ECEC) provision in Italy. Whereas up till now the governmental responsibility for services for those under three (called nidi d’infanzia) and preschool institutions for children aged three to six (called scuole dell’infanzia) was split across the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Education, since Law 107/2015 was enacted, an integrated system of ECEC was created under the Ministry of Education. Research has shown that the way ECEC systems are structured (split or integrated ministerial responsibility), regulated (centralized or decentralized governance), funded and managed (public, subsidized or private provision) might have a significant impact on the accessibility and quality of early childhood services (Gambaro et al. 2014). These aspects are therefore crucial to our discussion, as they might have an important role to play in providing favourable or, rather, hindering conditions for processes of transformative change to happen within ECEC institutions. On the other hand, research has also revealed that providing favourable conditions at macro-level is not sufficient (UNESCO 2015) as, in order to understand differential enrolment and thus change it, ‘we need to adopt an ecological and systemic approach combining elements of ECEC policies (the macro-level), institutional cultures and procedures (the meso-level) and family characteristics (the micro-level)’ (Vandendroeck 2015, p. 107). In fact, it is well documented by empirical research that the agency of all actors involved in decision-making processes within ECEC institutions – coordinators and coaches, practitioners and families – plays an important part in deepening professional pedagogical understandings which, in turn, contribute to improving the inclusiveness and quality of ECEC practices (Jensen and Bradi 2017; Peeters and Sharmahd 2014). In light of these considerations, the analysis conducted in this chapter will examine the conditions upon which the reciprocal interactions between governmental reforms and bottom-up policy advocacy processes can sustain ECEC services’ institutional change and pedagogical innovation for responsively addressing the newly emerging needs of children and families in contemporary society as well as nourishing their potentialities.
2020
The Policies of Childcare and Early Childhood Education: Does Equal Access Matter?
108
132
Lazzari Arianna; Balduzzi Lucia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/735419
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