Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Heydon, Rachel


The concept of creativity is ubiquitous in educational reports, policies, and curricula in the minority world. Many of these texts consider creativity an economic imperative and a key element of change for every knowledge domain of the 21st century. This study is anchored in a Critical Discourse Analysis theoretical framework and represents an inquiry of creativity in kindergarten curricula. The aims of this inquiry were to identify creativity common sense beliefs and theories and to examine which ones have been employed in which curricula, and with what implications for children, teachers, educators, and society. I designed a qualitative case study (Stake, 2005) consisting of participant observations, field notes, and interviews from one Ontario kindergarten class for one cycle of activity in the fall of 2012, which demonstrated the operational curriculum. I also conducted a critical discourse analysis (CDA) (Weiss & Wodak, 2003) of texts used in the kindergarten classroom, or required to be used, by teachers, early childhood educators (ECEs), and principals or coordinators of programs. These texts included the draft version of the programmatic kindergarten curriculum (Ontario Ministry of Education [OME], 2010) and the final version (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2016). Further, as a counterpoint, I analysed texts from Reggio Emilia’s early childhood education curriculum, as identified by teachers, to contrast and illustrate ethical pedagogical possibilities. The findings resulted from the ethical comparison of the studied educational paradigms were categorized in terms of enablers and constrainers of creativity. The emergent paradigm of creativity specific to Reggio Emilia, which draws on multiple theories while using ethics as gatekeeper, is the most beneficent for children and the system. The constraints of creativity as illustrated by the analysis of the Ontario programmatic and operational curriculum are sourced in the neoliberal discourse in education, in the accountability for efficiency’s sake, in creativity promoted and standardized in areas of learning, which will be of use in the future working age of the child, in transforming teachers and ECEs as managers, accountants, and grade one pre-trainers, and students in objects of political will and desire.