14 SES 13 B, Early Childhood Education and Play: Home and daycare contexts
Nowadays, the crisis of fundamental values and the pervasive sense of uncertainty are affecting the family and the educational institutions. Parents and educators appear unprepared to educate. On one side, the “traditional” family model has changed over time into a new image of a more complex and more flexible idea of family. These new family models propose different parental styles, redefying the concepts of motherhood and fatherhood. On the other side, important changes have involved also the early childhood education services, that are increasingly effective in supporting families in their educational tasks. In Italy, the childcare plays an important role in the social and family policies: it carries on an essential task of children socialization and education, helping parents to reconciling family life and work. In Italy, daycares were born as a resource for young working mothers and, in an unusually short timeframe, now they are part of the Italian educational system. They have also been able to relate to scientific research which has recognized the value of early-age social skills, and with the macro social system which is increasingly attentive to children's rights.
The Delegated Law for the creation of the integrated education system 0-6 years, approved in 2017, reforms the entire system of early childhood socio-educational services, within a clear and efficient set of skills between the various institutional actors. The family has also undergone important legislative and cultural changes. The concept of authority is transformed into that of parental responsibility (L. 154/2013), which is exerted in a shared way by mother and father. In a pedagogical sense, parental responsibility may be intended as good power (Rossini, 2016), that is the ability to use responsibly the educational power. This power consists of exercising positive discipline to promote the child freedom and autonomy.
In order to highlight the importance of the educational style (Baumrind, 1971) in childhood education, we investigated the relationship between educator and child and the consistency of their educational practices. Referring to indicators such as permissiveness-severity, responsiveness and the ability to set the limits, we analyzed in particular parents and educators behaviors and representations finalized to the construction of an educational co-responsibility agreement (Milani, 2009). So, the present exploratory study aims to contribute to a deeper reflection on the importance of shared responsibility between and family and daycares, analyzing the educational styles of parents and daycare educators and their effects on child education and development.
The methodology used is both qualitative and quantitative. We used a mixed approach for a deeper understanding of the different variables. The qualitative survey – through open questions – gave us an in-depth analysis of the problems of the educational services and of the family. For a quantitative approach, we chose a questionnaire with multiple choice answers that allowed extensive analysis and a meaningful comparison between the answers provided by educators and parents. In 2017, we administered a taylor-made questionnaire entitled "Shared responsibility and educational styles" in 21 daycare centers (12 privates, 9 publics). The study population was 1792 subjects, while the sample was 586 subjects (468 parents and 118 educators). The tool is composed of 25 items aimed to investigate the existence of a real collaboration between the two educational agencies and verify the adoption of a shared educational style. The questionnaire focus the attention on three macro thematic categories (Venuti, Senese, 2007): the daycare as a social requirement; educational co-responsibility; educational styles. The purpose of the study is to explore the degree of effectiveness of the relationship between families and daycares in the educational practices. To validate this hypothesis, we analyzed the answers of teducators and parents. A descriptive analysis of the variables was performed (absolute and relative frequencies).
The analysis of the data highlights the plurality models, objectives, trends and educational methods. Regarding to the first thematic area (the daycare as a social need) the results confirm the need for practical and emotional support of the family. For example, to the item "Why do parents register their children in the daycare?", the majority of parents and educators answered "for work needs of parents". To the following item "What are the main problems of contemporary families?", the majority of educators paid attention to the "crises in the educational role of parents". With reference to the second thematic area (educational co-responsibility), daycares and families seem to have a good level of understanding and sharing practices. Asking what word describes the relationship between parents and educators, many of them replied "confrontation" (61% of educators and 59% of parents). Regarding to the third category (educational styles), the results do not highlight the predominance of a particular educational style. The crisis of values and the profound social change confirm the sense of uncertainty in educational choices, but this uncertainty is not an obstacle toward a joint responsibility in the early child education. On one side, the qualitative study shows that parents do not intend to delegate the education of children to educators. On the other side, educators do not intend to judge parents and are available to share their expertise with the parents. In this direction, pedagogical research should pay attention to co-responsibility as a form of full participation between school and family (Clark, Dyson, Millward, 1995), starting from the early childhood. In fact, we think that a consistent educational practice is a guarantee of a full inclusion in school and society, considered «the missing piece of the puzzle called ‘provision of equal participation in teaching and learning’» for all children (Angelides, 2005).
Albert, J. (1980). Child care: a shared responsibility between the state and the family. Canadian Journal of Social Work Education / Revue canadienne d'éducation en service social, 6:1, 43-57. Angelides, P. (2005). The missing piece of the puzzle called ‘provision of equal participation in teaching and learning’(?). The International Journal of Special Education, 20:2, 32-35. Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology Monograph, 4, 1-103. Bronfenbrenner, U. (2009). The Ecology of Human Development. Harvard: Harvard University Press. Cadei, L. (2010). Riconoscere la famiglia. Strategie di ricerca e pratiche di formazione. Milano: Unicopli. Clark, C., Dyson, A., and Millward, A. (1995). Towards inclusive schools: Mapping the field, in Clark, C., Dyson, A. and Millward, A. (Eds.) Towards Inclusive Schools?, London: David Fulton, 164-78. Formenti, L. (a cura di) (2014). Sguardi di famiglie. Milano: Guerini. Hoff-Ginsberg, E., Tardif, T. (1995). Socioeconomic status and parenting. In M.H. Bornstein (ed.) Handbook of parenting, Vol. 2. Mahwah, N.J.: LEA, 161-188. Luster, T., Rhoades, K., Haas, B. (1989). The relation between parental values and parenting behaviour: A test of the Kohn hypothesis. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 139-147. Milani, P. (2009). La formazione e la ricerca in educazione familiare. Stato dell’arte in Italia. Rivista Italiana di Educazione Familiare, 1, 17-35. Pati, L., Prenna, L. (a cura di) (2008). Ripensare l’autorità. Riflessioni pedagogiche e proposte educative. Milano: Guerini. Pati, L. (a cura di) (2014). Pedagogia della famiglia. Brescia: La Scuola. Phillips, D.A. and Lowenstein, A.E. (2011). Early Care, Education, and Child Development. Annual Review of Psychology, 62:1, 483-500. Rossini, V., Loiacono, F. (2014), Oltre la madre "chioccia" e il padre "pipistrello". Prospettive di ricerca sullo shared parenting, in M. Corsi (a cura di), La ricerca pedagogica in Italia. Tra innovazione e internazionalizzazione. Lecce: Pensa MultiMedia, 277-289. Rossini, V. (2015). Educazione e potere. Significati, rapporti, riscontri. Milano: Guerini. Rossini, V. (2016). Stili di famiglia. Itinerari intergenerazionali di parenting. La Famiglia 50/260, 221-238. Rossini, V. (2017). Condividere per convivere. La corresponsabilità educativa tra scuola e famiglia. In S. Kanizsa, A. M Mariani. Pedagogia generale. Milano-Torino: Pearson, 77-95. Santelli Beccegato, L. (2015). Società plurale: quali rapporti scuola-famiglia? Rivista Italiana di Educazione Familiare, 1, 151-165. Simeone, D. (2008). Educare in famiglia. Indicazioni pedagogiche per lo sviluppo dell’empowerment familiare. Brescia: La Scuola. Venuti, P., Senese, V.P. (2007). Un questionario di autovalutazione degli stili parentali: uno studio su un campione italiano, Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, 3, 677-697.
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