Roehampton University, UK Froebelian Pedagogy in light of the Children and Families Act 2014

This study aims to explore ways in which Froebelian principles can be applied to early special education provision, following the introduction of the new Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) policy in England. The main goal is to find out the extent to which holistic and ecological views of development are put into practice, in accordance with both the new SEND policy and Froebelian Education. Previous studies have shown links between socio-economic disadvantage and the development of SEND; therefore, children with SEND from deprived backgrounds will be the target group of the study. Two specific aims were formulated: Firstly, the parents of young children with SEND and professionals working with them will be surveyed about the new policy, the education, health and care plans (EHCPs) and their implications for service provision. Secondly, the EHCPs of a sample of children whose parents have participated in the survey will be analysed, in order to understand the quality of these plans in terms of individualisation of needs, holistic assessment and integrated provision, which are fundamental Froebelian principles. The proposed study will start to build the much needed evidence concerning the effects of the introduction of the new SEND framework on the wellbeing of families and children with SEND from poorer backgrounds. A contemporary framework will be used which takes into account Froebelian education principles in the context of the current policy regulating SEND provision in England. This new framework is the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, which combines many of the principles of a Froebelian pedagogy: consideration for the child’s uniqueness, a holistic approach to early childhood intervention and parent-professional collaboration. As a result of the evidence gathered, guidelines will be developed on how to design high-quality EHCPs for young children, informed by these Froebelian principles.

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