Research with children under three : their rights to participate in planning the curriculum in early years settings in Greece and England
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AbstractThis thesis poses a number of questions about research and pedagogy with young children under three, with a particular focus on the opportunities for children’s ‘voices’ to be heard and for them to participate in the planning of the curriculum in early years’ settings. The persistent division between education and care has been an issue in many European countries for a long time (OECD, 2006). The thesis reports on the findings of a research project in both England and Greece. The research aims were to consider how the meaning of children’s participation is defined in the settings in the two countries; whether children use the resources provided according to adult expectation and initial planning and how practitioners react to children’s choices by supporting, ignoring or disapproving them. The theoretical underpinning for the thesis is drawn particularly from the work of Rogoff and Corsaro. Research focused on six children in both England and Greece who were observed during their involvement in both adult directed and child initiated activities in the settings. An ethnographic approach together with a range of ‘participatory’ methods were used including data gathered through video recordings made by both children and adults.This study has found that children express their perceptions during an activity in a very complicated way, elaborating and examining all the parameters that could place them in trouble. Additionally, the findings have shown that what the child is doing during an activity is not always what he is thinking, while many times children appeared to have their own agenda, thus ignoring or subverting adult plans. The main finding is that no matter what the differences and similarities in early years’ education and care between the two countries are, there is an urgent need to promote the children’s participatory rights, as adult’s authority and power is generally taken for granted. This thesis argues for ethical tensions in research with young children and for balanced pedagogy where both adults’ and children’s voices influence the curriculum.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of PhD in the School of Education