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Younger Infants in the Elementary School: Discursively Constructing the Under-Fives in Institutional Spaces and Practices

Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University, Headingley Campus, Leeds LS6 3QQ, UK
Genealogy 2019, 3(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3030037
Received: 6 May 2019 / Revised: 2 July 2019 / Accepted: 5 July 2019 / Published: 9 July 2019
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Abstract

Expansion of state-regulation of education and care for under-fives in England has seen increasing numbers of under-fives attending primary school early years provision in the 21st century’s opening decades. However, this is not entirely novel as under-fives attending elementary school feature in numerous 19th and 20th century reports. This article examines how under-fives have been discursively constructed in three reports between 1861 and 1933. Changing conceptualizations of under-fives are reflected in these documents. Shifting discourses of schooling, child development and curriculum are deployed, adapted or silenced to frame and judge the personal, social and moral conduct of the young child and parent. This normalizing discursive gaze positions the spaces and practices of schooling as necessary interventions inculcating specific governmentally designated desirable aspects of the child. Under-fives are enmeshed in an advancing process of educational colonization that removes them from the home, coming to dominate their time and experiences as young children. Current trends towards earlier school starting ages, longer daily hours, and the forensic use of data to chart progress towards expected goals is extension of this pattern. Attending to the genealogy of the discursive rationalization of this process helps us to critique how similar contemporary policy arguments are made. View Full-Text
Keywords: under-fives in elementary schools; purposes of nursery schooling; schooling for parental responsibility; maternal duties; school readiness under-fives in elementary schools; purposes of nursery schooling; schooling for parental responsibility; maternal duties; school readiness
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Olusoga, Y. Younger Infants in the Elementary School: Discursively Constructing the Under-Fives in Institutional Spaces and Practices. Genealogy 2019, 3, 37.

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