ECE Seminar Series: (Re)Framing children's readiness in high stakes Head Start contexts Event as iCalendar

17 January 2019

4:30 - 5:30pm

Venue: J1 Lecture Theatre

Location: The Faculty of Education and Social Work, 74 Epsom Avenue, Auckland 1023

Cost: Free

Website: Register

EdSW Playground

In this seminar, drawing on a two-year collaborative study with six Head Start teachers, the Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Toledo, Katherine (Kate) K. Delaney, discusses the ways in which assessment-driven tools in high stakes early childhood contexts in the United States influenced teachers' notions of young children's "readiness".

While historically the notion of "readiness" in ECE has been framed around children's transition to kindergarten (or the first year of formalised schooling), in this study the teachers reframed the notion of readiness  to explain students' preparedness to interact and respond in "high quality" ways as defined by a high stakes evaluative assessment of their classroom quality, the Pre-K Classroom Assessment Scoring System (Pre-K CLASS). Using three vignettes of children's play, and the interpretations of this play by their teachers, Assistant Professor Delaney discusses the ways in which high stakes assessments of classroom quality reframed the teachers' assumptions about what children were and could be capable of.

This reframing of readiness around very specifically drawn "high quality" child/teacher interactions valued by this assessment has troubling implications for the lifeworlds of teachers and children in ECE classrooms. Kate discusses how giving voice to lived experiences with high stakes assessments in ECE settings can open space for teacher and child agency through exploration of the subversive/other(ed) realities hidden by "evidence-based" and "data-driven" policies and practice.



Katherine (Kate) Delaney


Katherine (Kate) K. Delaney is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. She completed her doctoral training with Dr M. Elizabeth Graue at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr Susan B Neuman at the University of Michigan. Kate’s focus is on understanding how early childhood policies impact the lived experiences of children and teachers in Head Start and Title 1 preschool programmes – early childhood programmes serving low-income children and their families in the United States.

In particular, Kate is interested how local communities of ECE teachers, children and families experience and make sense of the oft-unintended consequences of ECE policies informed by large-scale, ‘data-driven’ and “evidence-based” intervention research in the US. Kate is the Junior-Member-at-Large of the Early Education and Child Development SIG of AERA, and a member of the Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education SIG of AERA. Kate has published peer-reviewed articles in several early childhood journals, as well as chapters in edited volumes.