Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Walsh, T.
A Crowded Space: The Policy Development Landscape in Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Ireland Annual Conference
Croke Park Conference Centre
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
Following decades of State apathy and a policy vacuum in the sphere of early childhood education (ECE), the last two decades have witnessed a myriad of policy and practice developments in the field of ECE (Hayes et al., 2013). These developments emanate from a range of government departments and agencies, including the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Education and Skills and the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA). The competing interests and the various motivations for supporting ECE has resulted in a crowded policy development space for the sector, most particularly in very recent years. This presentation will examine recent key policy developments and the departments/ agencies responsible for their design and implementation. The aim of the research is to delineate and critically analyse the contributions of key departments and agencies to ECE policy and its impact, both positive and negative, on the sector. The research was undertaken using critical document analysis, by interrogating recent policy publications and pronouncements and examining the websites of key departments and agencies. As Bowen (2009:27) states document analysis “requires that data be examined and interpreted in order to elicit meaning, gain understanding, and develop empirical knowledge.” These developments are mapped visually by department/ agency and the presentation culminates with a visual overview of the current policy landscape. The analysis has revealed a plethora of recent policy developments that, collectively, are overwhelming for the sector to understand or implement and a lack of coherence or cohesion in the policy development arena. One of the key conclusions is that a clearer vision is needed for the sector to ensure that policies are coherent, consistent and manageable for those with a responsibility for their enactment. Bowen, G. (2009). Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method, Qualitative Research Journal, 9, 2, 27–40. Hayes, N., O’Donoghue Hynes, B. And Wolfe, T. (2013). Rapid Change without Transformation: The Dominance of a National Policy Paradigm over International Influences on ECEC Development in Ireland 1995-2012. International Journal of Early Childhood, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp. 1-19.