Grant holder
Alison Clark, University of South-Eastern Norway (USN)
Project status
In Progress

A research project exploring the reasons to be slow in early childhood and gathering practical examples of what slow can look like in Early Childhood Education and Care.

Project summary

This project explores alternatives to the acceleration of childhood by investigating research and practice in early childhood that supports slow pedagogies and slow knowledge. It is centred on the idea that childhood needs to be valued in its own right in keeping with Froebelian principles.

The project is set against the background of increasing pressures within education and early childhood education and care that has led to an increasingly ‘hurried child’ (Elkind, 2007/1981) and hurried educators and parents. Policy demands to measure and test young children earlier have been part of this pressure (Brogaard Clausen et al, 2015). This project seeks to investigate the case for a different approach to this acceleration of childhood based on a focus on the time, pace and rhythm of early childhood practice that celebrates play.

Part One explores the reasons to be slow in early childhood by examining different understandings of time that have particular relevance for young children’s lives including ‘clock time’, ‘wasted time’, ‘playtime’, ‘embodied time’ and ‘timefullness’.

Part two explores practical examples of what slow can look like in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). In what contexts are slow practices happening now and in the past that can enable each child’s capacity and potential to be recognised? What qualities and environments can support these ways of teaching, learning and living together?

Part three focuses on examples of teaching slow with ECEC students and in professional development. This will draw on the knowledge of experienced ECEC teacher educators working in diverse international and cultural contexts and using different theoretical frames for slow pedagogies.

The project aims to serve as a catalyst for urgent discussion among researchers, practitioners and policy makers about the relationship with time in early childhood environments, and how high quality practice in ECEC teacher education can emphasise these values.