Early Years Learning, play pedagogy and social class

2016-04-25T10:17:47Z (GMT) by Julie Stirrup John Evans Brian Davies
Despite 50 and more years of ‘progressive education’ in the UK, classed patterns of educational success and failure stubbornly prevail. So how, where and when does it all go wrong for the many children who continue to fail or underachieve? Drawing on the work of Basil Bernstein this paper centers processes within early years’ education, which are claimed to help launch children on careers as either educational successes or failures. Our data suggest that in the progressive play pedagogies of Early Years Education (EYE) children more or less happily play their lives away, in the process learning their position in social and ability hierarchies that help define their future careers in and outside schools. That such hierarchies prevail is neither fault of teachers nor parents. Indeed, it is what EYE settings are legitimized to do; sieve and sort, make children ‘school ready’, pliant and prepared for a lifetime of learning to succeed or fail.