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The Impact of National/Subnational Cultural Contexts on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE): A Comparative Case Study of the Lived Experiences of Lebanese and Danish ECCE Educators Open Access

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This study positions itself in the field of international/global Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). The early years of child development constitute what is often viewed as the most significant developmental period of the entire life-cycle. Studies have pointed to a range of benefits that ECCE programs can provide, leading to a greater interest in the field of ECCE globally. International/global ECCE is predominantly determined by Western derived theories and programs. Some Western derived ECCE programs assert their universal applicability, but there is criticism and opposition to the perceived ethnocentricity of these programs. Such resistance raises fundamental questions about what forms globally orientated ECCE programs should take.This exploratory comparative case-study explores the lived-experiences, perceptions and praxes of ECCE educators in Lebanon and Denmark, as well as the habitus from which these arise. These constructs were investigated through the use of a qualitative, comparative, embedded-design case-study. In-depth phenomenological interviews, structured and unstructured observations/participant-observations and document analysis were used to collect data. The data was analyzed thematically utilizing open/axial/selective coding and a priori themes. The four participants’ perceptions converged with regards to the perception that child-educator ratios have implications for ECCE praxis. All the participants held that their approaches to ECCE were child-centered, although their interpretations of what constituted child-centered praxis differed. The participants believed that parents play an important role in ECCE, but the relationship between educator and parent is not always easy. Finally, all the participants felt a deep love for ECCE, and had done so ever since they first came into contact with the field. The Lebanese and Danish cases diverged on their perceptions of ECCE curriculum and whether or not they believed that ECCE praxis is an extension of motherhood.

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