The purpose of the paper is to practice contextual thinking, including (a) reflecting on the issue of transferring/translating knowledge and practice produced in one context to another; (b) practicing thinking about culture and context in relation to an early-childhood intervention.
You will choose an early childhood intervention programme, directed towards young children or their caregivers (parents, teachers or care-workers). This can be a programme which has already been implemented where you currently work or somewhere else; or a programme that you have in mind to implement in the future.
Please note: The paper assumes familiarity with the intervention programme (first-hand or through literature or both) as well as with the context in which the programme is to be inserted (first-hand, through literature, or both). Throughout the paper you will also be making use of your personal/professional knowledge – this must be backed up by relevant research literature where possible.
a) On the basis of the literature for the course, give the rationale for why it is important to pay attention to culture and context when planning and implementing an intervention (3-5 sources from course readings; additional material from lectures).
b) Describe the intervention: What it is? To whom is it directed? What is its purpose? Has it been implemented, among whom? Was it considered a success and by whom? Why did you choose this intervention? (1-2 sources).
c) On the basis of Woodhead’s (1996) model for dynamic, contextually-appropriate quality development (but adapted to the particular intervention), do the following (please note that the following sections are based on a combination of personal/professional knowledge, backed up by research (1-2 sources per section) where possible):
c1. Make stakeholder analysis: Who has an interest in early childhood development as providers and/or beneficiaries? What is their interest in early childhood development? Which aspects are they interested in? What is their status, and their level of power and influence? (sources: personal/professional knowledge; research literature) 2
c2. Appraise multiple perspectives: What is your perspective and interest as initiator of the intervention? What might be the other stakeholders’ beliefs about beneficiaries of the programme, goals, needs, approaches to practice, design and funding of provision, and so on? Where are the points of complementarity and convergence? Where are the conflicts of interest? How might competing perspectives be reconciled? (sources: personal/professional knowledge; research literature)
c3. Contextualise ‘scientific’ knowledge: What research, theories, models and approaches are relevant? What are the implicit assumptions and values about approaches to childrearing and goals of development? Where are the points of congruence/conflict between ‘scientific’ knowledge and local practice? What key themes would benefit from locally-based research, including small-scale practitioner-based studies? (sources: personal/professional knowledge; research literature)
c4. Assess resource opportunities: What are the existing resources, in terms of buildings, materials, human skills, infrastructures, training facilities, and so on? What is scope for low-cost resource enhancement, in terms of using local human and material resource (for example, volunteers, parents, community, alternative settings, locally-found/crafted equipment, training opportunities)? How might positive community resources be harnessed? (sources: personal/professional knowledge; research literature)