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  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: August 2019

Chapter 10 - Content knowledge: Languages and literacies



In this chapter we will examine:

  • • current research on the content knowledge that teachers need to have about languages and literacies in early childhood
  • • how teachers can build on children's home experiences in the early childhood classroom to help transform children's thinking.
  • This chapter will examine the role of content knowledge in early childhood education across the key areas of languages and literacies, including digital learning. Issues associated with how content knowledge is related to and evidenced in the early childhood curriculum will be theorised using Fleer's work on concept formation in early childhood contexts in Chapter 9. In our opening scenario (Case study 1.1), our students voiced concerns about how to integrate domain knowledge into teaching. This chapter explores how learning domain knowledge is integral to implementing a sociocultural curriculum. In Case study 10.1 (Emergent curriculum) we revisit our students’ concern about implementing emergent curriculum:


    Michael: I don't know and I don't understand how constructed and contested curriculum fits with curriculum planning. How can you plan curriculum if you are using the emergent curriculum approach that some teachers use?

    Languages and literacies

    We will first return to the questions asked of you in Chapter 3 in relation to the curriculum you use in your teaching and reflect on these questions specifically in relation to languages and literacies in your early childhood setting:

  • How are children viewed? How are children's languages and literacies development viewed in this setting?
  • What content is valued? What types of languages and literacies knowledge and skills are valued for children?
  • How is knowledge framed? Whose languages and literacies knowledge is prioritised and organised in this setting?
  • How is progression organised (or not)? How is languages and literacies progression viewed and used for structuring curriculum?
  • Who decides on the content? Who has decided on the languages and literacies content that is offered to children in this setting?
  • As Chapter 3 argued, all these questions shape the ways in which teachers make choices about curriculum content and how to interact with children's developing literacies knowledge and skills.