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After reflecting on my research I see each construct can act in combination with another. In researching theorists and philosophies, I would use for my teaching a style that highly values questioning, reflection, research and adaptation. I see the child as a collaborator and communicator. I believe in being a partner, a nurturer, a guide, a researcher. Malaguzzi(1993) says its up to the child in collaboration with the teacher to determine the course of their investigation and learning. I agree that children construct knowledge in a social cultural context and that their learning is shaped by the social interactions within the cultural setting of the family and the broader community. Our knowledge of social constructivism evolved from the early work of theorist such as Brofenbrenner (1979), Bruner (1986) and Bandur (1986) and Vygotsky (1978) who states development cannot be seperated from its social context, T Kearns, (2010) also looks at the Whole Child and the social constructivist model of early childhood education, viewing children and adults as partners in learning, working collaboratively to construct meaning and knowledge through a shared process that includes facilitation, discovery, learning, scaffolding and intention teaching. Educators who do not accept the validity of multiple (child rearing) persectives can harm childrens' identity development Kearns (2010)
Staley, 1988, p. 20) states children predict outcomes experiment and reflect. There is evidence in the Reggio Emilio classrooms (Fraser 2000) where the child is seen as an active curious and self motivated learner, who is capable and competent, where the curriculum is negotiated and emergent, this is the curriculum I like. Using the environment as the third teacher (Gandini 1998 pg 177) and being in partnership with parents.
The EYLF (DEEWR 2009b: 11) defines pedagogy as the holistic nature of early childhood educators professional pracitice, especially those aspects that involve building and nurturing relationships, curriculum decision making, teaching and learning. I would follow the Principles and Practices and link childrens learning to the Outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework Kearns (2010)
While supporting young children through the sometimes difficult transitions that they experience in early childhood I believe educators need to make transitions of their own in their thinking about children and childhood and to reconstruct their practice accordingly.
Out of Control
Child is innocent
Corsaro (1997) and Malaguzzi says its up to the in child in collaboration with the teacher to determine the course of investigation and learning
Curriculum for the agentic child is co-constructed through adult - child collalboration. Planning based on observation, recording of children's language, ideas and interests, and discussion with children is indicative of a child's agency. Assessment based on portfolios containing work chosen by student and teacher, interviews with children about the learing and peer review also promote agency in children. Viewing children as agentic rather than needy and incompetent may be the first step in this transformation (Sorin 2005)
Child as a victim.
The difference and the expectations placed on them change according to the society in which they live.
Children and the role of children is seen within the community rather than how it fits the Western world.
The child is voiceless and powerless
Relating this to early childhood practice would be to ensure all children are welcomed and gain agency in both their school and home lives. Making sure they are not judged in a classroom.
Driven by their own needs, desires, nature and pleasure.
In the early childhood setting , behavioural guidance can be decided in collaboration with parents. Conflict resolution where appropriate Kearns (2010 ) Educator would set the scene for mediation, the problem would be identified. Educator would brainstorm ways to solve the problem, a solution would be agreed upon and the educator would follow up by encouraging monitoring and guiding.
The Snowballing Child
Are these out of control, violent, destructive behaviours a way of getting people to do what they want.
In early childhood maybe these children would be asking for help. I would initiate collaborations between children and adults regarding learning directions and behavioural expectations. I would involve the children in setting expectations of the room where appropriate..
Children moving up the ladder of competence until they are fully "adult-like" (Hutchison & Charlesworth, 2000) Concentration on milestomes and when they are labelled as deficit when they are not met (Woodrow,1999) This does not really address the cognitive social and emotioal needs of children The concept of learning through play is not a priority within this construct.
Child is an adult in training
Children develop through their involvement in cultural practices and traditions. This child will make sacrifices for the good of others. This child lets go of their own need to help other children in conflict or to maintain harmony in the class.
Child as a commodity
The child is an object to be used, they are powerless
The child's best interest has been forfeited (Woodrow, 1999) Giving children a voice helps to curb this commodity and demonstrates that childhood is accepted for the rich stage of life that it is.
(Hutchinson & Charlesworth 2000: Wood 2003) see childhood as distinct from adulthood, a time that is of pure innocence that will never be recaptured. A child is a blank slate positioning children as incompetent. Looking at this construct and how it may be present in early childhood practice.. Sorin & Galloway, (2005) United Nation Conventions on the Rights of the Child operates "the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration" yet the best interests are determined not by the children. Learning environments should not stop children acting with agency, I would consider safety issues but expand the environment.
The Miniature Adult
Childhood is not considered a separate phase of life. This image is depicted by children's labour being utilised by military.
In education paractice this construction may require the child to sit for lengthy periods absorbing knowledge rather than having a play based environment. No differentiating the child from the adult.
The snowballing child is not necessarily evil but seems to be the one in control in the adult-child relationship, with temper tantrums a common response to not getting their own way. The child gaining power througn the lack of adult influence In an early childhood setting these children may be antisocial.
We must remember that much of the childs earliest learning is the product of interactions with adults and peers even where there has been no deliberate attempt to provide instruction. The child learns a great deal from observations of those more competent than themselves. Rogoff argues that development is shaped by the childs active particiapation in his or her culture. Rogoff reminds us that child development must not be considered in isolation - every individual is part of a cultural group.
James and James ((2008) suggests also that we cannot limit ourselves to locating the child in terms of the early developmental stages of the life course as this is clearly insufficient. We need to refine this by acknowledging the importance of social and culutral contexts and practices that in addition to age and developmental criteria define child.