Mapping the policy landscape of Australian early childhood education policy through document analysis

Natasha Hard, Paige Lee and Sue Dockett
Charles Sturt University

While much has been written about recent reforms in Australian early childhood education (birth to five) policy, less attention has been directed towards the changes across the whole early childhood period (birth to eight) and potential links between policy covering the prior-to-school and early school years. The near-concurrent introduction of two national curriculum documents covering these sectors has provided opportunities to explore such links. Recognising that such national approaches do not emerge from a vacuum, we identified a wide range of additional documents that contributed to the history, development, implementation and evaluation of the national curriculum documents, with the aim of exploring the links across these and the policy imperatives guiding these. Qualitative Document Analysis was used to manage the overwhelming number of related documents that were identified. In this paper, we share the processes used in the descriptive coding of a large corpus of documents, and reflect on the advantages and challenges encountered. We share these reflections not only as a means of contributing to discussions about the nature and impact of early childhood policy, but also to provide a transparent basis for future analyses.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 43 Number 2 June 2018.

Don’t forget, the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood is tax deductible for early childhood professionals.