Journal of Research in Childhood Education Call for Papers: Special Issue

Culturally Inclusive and Contextually Appropriate Instructional Practices: Rethinking Pedagogical Perspectives, Practices, Policies and Experiences in Early Childhood Education Programs

Journal of Research in Childhood Education

Many of the popular theories, perspectives, and practices regarding human development that currently guide early childhood education programs are inadequate, because they situate human development as a universal phenomenon. Although nature has universal effects, differences in nurture, particularly cultural differences, affect human development in diverse ways (Woodhead, 1998, 2006). Therefore, researchers (e.g., Ashcroft, Griffiths, & Tiffin, 2000; Diang, 2013; Madrid, Baldwin, & Belbase, 2016) caution against overreliance on theories and perspectives that fail to consider the value of culture in human development, because they are likely to advance ideologies in support of neo-colonialism, ethnocentrism, and cultural domination. Instead, scholars need to develop and use culturally inclusive theories, perspectives, and practices regarding child development.

Madrid Akpovo, Nganga, and Acharya (2018) promote the use of Contextually Appropriate Practices (CAP), developed in collaboration with local cultures and communities, in order to make education for young children meaningful and relevant. Similarly, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) recommends perspectives on human development that consider the effects of heritage cultures on child development, with an emphasis on children’s global rights (Woodhead, 2006). Support for the use of culturally inclusive perspectives and practices is gaining momentum around the world (Chen & Miike, 2006; Madrid Akpovo, 2017; Nganga, 2015; Yep, 2014) and pedagogical practices that respect current trends in globalization are also critical (Nganga & Kambutu, 2015; Nganga, Kambutu, & Russell, 2013). Li and Chen describe the benefits of a 3CAPs approach:

  • CAP1 - Culturally Appropriate Practice. At this level, any reforms in early childhood curriculum are made with sensitivity to the child’s environment and are not overly dependent on Euro-Western values of best practices.
  • CAP2 - Contextually Appropriate Practice. At this level, regional differences are considered while all practices in use are based on local contexts.
  • CAP3 - Child Appropriate Practice. At this level, children’s experiences are considered, such as family histories and experiences with immediate environments, including schools.

Submission Guidelines

This special issue, therefore, calls for scholarly manuscripts that interrogate content, instructional strategies, and experiences that support or are informed by Contextually Appropriate Practice (3CAPS) or culturally inclusive pedagogies in early childhood programs. We are seeking research-based manuscripts regarding practices that factor the effects of heritage cultures on child development in the context of children’s global rights and globalization. In addition, we are seeking manuscripts that discuss how to prepare in-service and pre-service teachers with the mind-set and skill-set to develop and use culturally inclusive practices and frameworks for child development programs. Innovations within teacher preparation programs as well as other possible ways to educate teachers about using culturally inclusive educational frameworks would add value to this special issue. Thus, acceptable manuscripts must provide either multiple pedagogies, perspectives, methodologies, and/or practices relative to developing culturally/globally inclusive perspectives and practices in early childhood programs. Equally encouraged are manuscripts that interrogate neo-colonialism, ethnocentrism, and Euro-Western assumptions in the contexts of preparing educators for young learners.

Acceptable manuscripts should address empirical research, theoretical debates, and/or literature review using critical perspectives on culturally inclusive and contextually appropriate practices in early childhood education programs. All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed. Manuscripts should not exceed 9000 words, including all tables, appendixes, notes, and references.

Complete manuscripts are due by January 15, 2019.

Find out more about author submission guidelines.


Submit papers for peer reviews                                             January 19, 2019
Peer-review decisions                                                            April 1, 2019
Revisions/edits of accepted papers                                        July 1, 2019
Accept Papers                                                                        Oct 1, 2019
Publication                                                                              January 2020 (Vol 34, #1)


Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2000). Post-colonial studies: The key concepts. London, England: Routledge.

Chen, G.M., & Miike, Y. (2006). The ferment and future of communication studies in Asia: Chinese and Japanese perspectives. China Media Research, 2(1), 1-12.

Diang, M.C. (2013). Colonialism, neoliberalism, education and culture in Cameroon. Chicago, IL: DePaul University College of Education.

Li, H., & Chen, J. J. (2017). Evolution of the early childhood curriculum in China: the impact of social and cultural factors on revolution and innovation. Early Child Development and Care, 187(10), 1-13. doi:10.1080/03004430.2016.1220373

Madrid Akpovo, S. (2017). Uncovering cultural assumptions: The use of a critical incident technique during an international student-teaching field experience. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. doi:10.1177/1463949117747108

Madrid Akpovo, S., Nganga, L., & Acharya, D. (2018). Minority-world preservice teachers' understanding of contextually appropriate practice while working in majority-world communities. Journal of Research in Childhood Education. doi:10.1080/02568543.2017.1419321

Madrid, S., Baldwin, N., & Belbase, S. (2016). Feeling culture: The emotional experience of six early childhood educators in a cross-cultural context. Global Studies of Childhood, 8(3), 1-16.

Nganga, L. (2015). Multicultural curriculum in rural early childhood programs. Journal of Praxis in Multicultural Education, 9(1).

Nganga, L., & Kambutu, J. (2015). Social justice education, globalization, and teacher education (Teaching and learning social studies series). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing,

Nganga, L., Kambutu, J., & Russell, W. B. (2013). Exploring globalization opportunities and Challenges in social studies: Effective instructional strategies. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Woodhead, M. (2006). Changing perspectives on early childhood: Theory, research and policy. UNESCO. Retrieved from

Woodhead, M. (1998). Quality in early childhood programs: A contextually appropriate approach. International Journal of Early Education, 6(1), 5-17, doi:10.1080/0966976980060101

Yep, G. A. (2014). Encounters with the "other" : Personal notes for a reconceptualization of intercultural communication competence. In M. K. Asante, Y. Miike, & J. Yin (Eds.), The global intercultural communication reader (pp. 339-356). New York, NY: Routledge.

Guest Editors

Lydiah Nganga is an Associate Professor in the School of Teacher Education, University of Wyoming. Her research focuses on global/international education, multicultural education, culturally responsive education, antibias education, social justice and curriculum studies in teacher education and early childhood programs. Her research also examines pre-service teachers’ development of global understanding and antibias teaching.   

Samara Madrid Akpovo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Her research has focused on the emotional lives of adults and children in early childhood classrooms using collaborative ethnographic methods. A central theme in her research has been to challenge normative ways of being, feeling, and knowing with young children and teachers in diverse social and cultural contexts. Her research also examines early childhood pre-service teachers’ development of intercultural understandings during international field experiences in Nepal.

John Kambutu is Professor of Education in the School of Teacher Education, University of Wyoming. His research work is in cultural diversity, rural education, transformative learning and globalization/internationalization efforts. Dr. Kambutu has published several articles and book chapters. He believes strongly in an education that liberates humanity from the ills of ignorance, thus enabling all to live a free life.


The Journal of Research in Childhood Education, the quarterly research journal of the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI), focuses on children and early adolescents’ learning and development from birth through young adult.

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Lydiah Nganga Nganga, University of Wyoming
  • Guest Editor: Samara Madrid Akpovo , The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Guest Editor: John Kambutu, University of Wyoming