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“Hoiku no Shitsu” o koete (Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care - Exploring Alternatives to “Evaluation”)


Gunilla Dahlberg, Peter Moss, Alan Pence (author), ASAI Sachiko (supervisor of translation)


380 pages, A5 format




May 30, 2022



Published by

Minerva Shobo

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“Hoiku no Shitsu” o koete

Japanese Page

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“Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care" was written and published in 1999 by three early childhood education and care researchers: Gunilla Dahlberg (Sweden), Peter Moss (UK), and Alan Pence (Canada). A second edition of the book was published in 2007 with a foreword by Carla Rinaldi and was reprinted in the Routledge Classics series in 2013. This book is a translation of the 2013 edition with a new "Preface to the Japanese Edition" written by Dahlberg and Moss.
"Quality" has become one of the most frequently discussed topics in the field of childcare and early childhood education. This book provides a theoretical foundation for a criticism of the widespread discourse of "quality in early childhood education and care." This book points out that the discourse of "quality" appears to be the only discourse that is neutral and objective, even though it is an option and based on a specific value. Consider the term "good early childhood education and care". These words anticipates that there is a diversity of values and that there will be a debate over what is "good." However, this does not apply for the words "quality of early childhood education and care". It presupposes that there are universal principles to be applied regardless of the context to achieve standardized results. According to this book, the original discourse of "quality" shifted away from the idea of quality control of products and customer satisfaction and was applied to policies and spread to the domain of childcare and early childhood education. This standardization of the discourse of "quality" strips away context, complexity, diversity, and democracy. Moreover, as standardized measurements are established in academia, and applied to the institutions, teachers are excluded from value judgments and de-professionalized.
Thus, this book not only criticizes the "discourse of quality," but also presents the discourse of "meaning making" as an alternative. The discourse of quality measurements and assessments early childhood care and education according to predetermined criteria and scales, while the discourse of "meaning making" describes "evaluation" as the generation or creation of various local, accidental, and complex meanings and values in events. In this book the main foundations for the construction of this "meaning making" discourse are the early childhood education in the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy, and the early childhood education of Reggio-inspired in Sweden. While early childhood education in Reggio Emilia is globally renowned and has greatly influenced early childhood education in Japan, this book presents new understandings of early childhood education in Reggio Emilia by finding the arena of meaning making and democracy in particular in the "documentation".
In their preface to the Japanese edition, Dahlberg and Moss declare this search for alternatives as a practice of resistance against the neoliberal hegemony. The scope of this project is not limited to early childhood education and care. I would recommend this book to anyone who is uncomfortable with the emphasis on measurement and evaluation in education.

(Written by ASAI Sachiko, Professor, Graduate School of Education / 2023)

Related Info

Original Book:
Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care: Languages of Evaluation (Routledge Education Classic Editions  2013)
The Center for Early Childhood Development, Education, and Policy Research Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo
Report about the original book by authors:
By Gunilla Dahlberg and Peter Moss  (CESifo DICE Report 6(2) pp. 21-26  2008)

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