17 SES 02, Paper Session
The compensation of early disadvantage was one of the ideologically crucial notions for the expansion of the compulsory schooling and the re-design of the kindergarten in Switzerland. While the primary school was compulsory and state funded since the 1830s (Schmidt 2011), the Kindergarten in the German speaking part of Switzerland was voluntary and if at all locally organized. The Froebel tradition of the kindergarten strengthened the rejection of systematic practice and learning (Allen 2006), which was accompanied by only a slow institutionalization, often privately driven. Only in the 20th century more and more local communities set up their kindergarten, mostly first for one year. This private and local engagement for the schooling of the four to six year olds led to a locally strongly varying institutionalization of the kindergarten (Criblez 2015; Rüfenacht 1984; Nufer 1978). The French and Italian part of Switzerland have a different tradition of preschool which is oriented to the school systems of the respective language region. In the French speaking canton of Geneva the kindergarten was compulsory from the beginning of the 19th century. Since the 1990s an expansion of the preschool institutions can be determined in western countries (for the US Gullo 1990). With the beginning of the 21th century most German speaking cantons have institutionalized a two years compulsory kindergarten. The individual inequality concerning the access to early schooling was no political, no scientific and no ideological topic before the late 1950s. But the increasing educational research within the administration during the 1960s (Rothen 2016) brought the early childhood and the kindergarten as into focus of scientific but also of educational policy considerations.
This paper focuses on the years after 1960 and the emergence of the concept of equality of educational opportunity concerning preschool in educational research. In doing so, the three following questions are of interest: how were inequality and equality conceptualized, which results were identified, and which conclusions were drawn. To answer these questions the scientific work of several research institution within the administration are analyzed. Therefore institutions and research projects that represent the German and French speaking part of Switzerland are chosen to allow a comparison between two different traditions of preschool. Thereby this paper empirically and case-specifically verifies the thesis that since the late 1950s scientific expertise has become an important point of reference in the agenda setting, gaining increasing importance for the political process (f.e. Weingart 1983; Grundmann/Stehr 2010; Metzler 2005; Jasanoff 1994).
This paper is based on a bigger project that analyzes the history of the Swiss educational research institutions. Thereby the focus lays on the research activities of the Swiss educational research institutions concerning the topic of early inequality and disadvantage. Beside the national project SIPRI (Situation der Primarschule by the Erziehungsdirektorenkonferenz) where the transition from kindergarten to primary school was examined, specific projects of the Pädagogische Abteilung (Zurich), the Service de la recherche pédagogique (Geneva) and the Amt für Unterrichtsforschung und -planung (Bern) are selected for the historical analysis. The archives of the four selected research institutions (state archive of Bern, Geneva, Lucerne and Zurich) will be searched for relevant sources. In doing so hardly noticed sources will be explored and put into relation to the history of pedagogical knowledge and to the development of a specific school design. Thereby the barely studied history of the kindergarten in the 20th century (Dombkowski 2001) will be focused.
First findings indicate that, on one hand, the educational disadvantage of specific population groups was understood as an access problem. It seems as all research units have prepared planning documents for state funded kindergarten. On the other hand, the kindergarten was seen as ideal setting for equalizing support. Several studies examined the effect of an individual stay in the preschool setting to compensate different origin-related educational opportunities. The scientific results focused on encouragement and support and thereby led to a changing understanding of the kindergarten as part of the school system. With the new focus on child development and early childhood learning the idea that the kindergarten should focus on academic preparation became more powerful (for the US kindergarten Weber 1984). First findings indicate that the Swiss educational research on early education also led to a basal competence orientation and a strengthening of the curricular and pedagogical links with the primary grades.
Allen, A. T. (2006). The Kindergarten in Germany and the United States, 1840-1914: A Comparative Perspective. In: History of Education, 35,2, 173-188, DOI:10.1080/00467600500528040 Dombkowski , K. (2001). Will the real kindergarten please stand up?: Defining and redefining the twentieth-century US kindergarten, History of Education, 30,6, 527-545, DOI:10.1080/00467600110064762 Criblez, L. (2015). Die Schuleingangsstufe zwischen pädagogischer Vision und bildungspolitischer Realität – eine Policyanalyse. In: Müller Ch. et al., Perspektiven und Potentiale in der Schuleingangsstufe. Münster: Waxmann, 61-82. Grundmann R.; Stehr N. (2010). Expertenwissen die Kultur und die Macht von Experten, Beratern und Ratgebern, Weilerswist. Gullo, D. (1990). The changing family context: implications for the development of all-day kindergartens’, Young Children, 45, 35-39. Jasanoff, S. (1990). The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policymakers, Cambridge/M. Metzler, Gabriele (2005). Konzeptionen politischen Handelns von Adenauer bis Brandt. Politische Planung in der pluralistischenm Gesellschaft. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh. Nufer, H. (1978). Kindergarten im Wandel. Frauenfeld: Huber. Rothen, C. (2016). Educational research within the administration: a booming business in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (1950–1980). Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education 52 4, 395-407. Rüfenacht, P. (1984). Vorschulerziehung. Geschichte und aktuelle Situation in den einzelnen Kantonen der Schweiz. Bern: Haupt. Schmitt, H. R. (2011). Die Volksschule im Kanton Bern. In: Martig et al. Berns moderne Zeit. Das 19. und 20. Jahrhundert neu entdeckt. Bern: Stämpfli, 432-443. Weber, E. (1984). Ideas Influencing Early Childhood Education: A Theoretical Analysis. New York: Teachers College Press. Weingart, P. (1983). Verwissenschaftlichung der Gesellschaft - Politisierung der Wissenschaft. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 3,12, 225-241.
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