Source: Larry Prochner, Principal Researcher
Summary: This article presents an outline history of the development of formal early childhood education programs for Aboriginal children in Canada with reference to experience in Australia and New Zealand. A review of selected developments in the colonial era that influenced the provision of early childhood education (ECE) is followed by a discussion of cross-national themes and current issues in the post-colonial period. While there is a growing literature on the history of formal early childhood education programs for European children, comparatively less attention has been paid to the history of programs for indigenous children. At the same time, the number and variety of early childhood programs in each of the three countries has increased over the past 20 years.
The aim of the article is to identify common and unique experiences in indigenous ECE in each country and, it is hoped, to raise questions worthy of further study. The article ends with a selective review of more recent initiatives.