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How do social relationships in early childhood settings support and influence children’s creative thinking? Sue Greenfield and Sue Robson Early Childhood.

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Presentation on theme: "How do social relationships in early childhood settings support and influence children’s creative thinking? Sue Greenfield and Sue Robson Early Childhood."— Presentation transcript:

1 How do social relationships in early childhood settings support and influence children’s creative thinking? Sue Greenfield and Sue Robson Early Childhood Research Centre, Roehampton University, UK EECERA Prague, August 2007

2 Froebel Research Fellowship Project, ‘The Voice of the Child: Ownership and Autonomy in Early Learning’ ( ) David J. Hargreaves – Director Hiroko Fumoto Sue Greenfield Sue Robson

3 Research questions Three strands: Children’s perspectives: What are the children’s perspectives on their activities in early childhood settings, and how do they reflect upon these? Parents/ carers’ perspectives: What opportunities do parents provide for children to engage in creative thinking? Teachers’ perspectives: How are teachers’ experiences of relating to young children shaped by children’s developing creative thinking, and vice versa?

4 Participants 3 Early Childhood Settings: 1 Children’s Centre, 1 Private Workplace Nursery, 1 Foundation Stage Unit in Primary School 12 children: 5 girls; 7 boys (M=4 years 3 months) 40 parents (questionnaire), 6 parents (interview) 6 early childhood professionals (8-14 children each)  65 children: 27 girls, 38 boys (M=4 years 3 months), 65 pairs of teacher-child relationships

5 Research design Short-term longitudinal study Parents: 1 Phase Children: 1 Phase Teachers: Phase 1: the beginning of a school year Phase 2: the end of a school year

6 Research instruments Observations, analysed using Analysing Children’s Creative Thinking (ACCT) Framework (children) Reflective Dialogues, analysed using C.IndLe Coding Scheme (Whitebread et al) (children) Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (Pianta, 2001) (professionals) Evaluation of Children’s Creative Thinking (ECCT) Questionnaire (professionals and parents) One-to-one semi-structured interview (professionals and parents)

7 Accessing children’s perspectives Children’s Rights Vygotsky Pramling Forman try to access children’s perspectives? do we access children’s perspectives? HOW do we access children’s perspectives? WHY try to access children’s perspectives?

8 Method 12 children: 5 girls; 7 boys (M=4 years 3 months) in 3 settings Videotaped episodes of child-initiated play activities, analysed using ACCT Framework; Audio recorded reflective dialogues, using semi- structured interview schedule, conducted by practitioner, analysed using C.IndLe Coding Scheme.

9 The ACCT Framework and Daniel’s observation Type of behaviourObservation of Daniel EXPLORATION Exploring Engaging in new activity Knowing what you want to do Moves log onto its side. Goes to area with herbs and cut logs. ‘We’re finding animals…Nope.’ ‘Oh it’s been caught and it’s broken – someone killed it.’ Knocks all of the logs over in turn with his hands. ‘It’s all done now’ ENJOYMENT & INVOLVEMENT Trying out ideas Analysing ideas Speculating Involving others PERSISTENCE Persisting Risk taking Completing challenges

10 Reflective Dialogues Examples of questions Did you have an idea about what you wanted to do? Are you pleased with what you did? (Why?) What do you think was the best idea you had? Do you think you are good at telling other people about your ideas? Do you get ideas from other people? How do you feel if an idea you have doesn’t work? What do you think you are good at?

11 Metacognitive Knowledge – of person, tasks and strategies I saw Christopher doing it so it made me have an idea so I told Jack. They think it’s a game but it’s not a game it’s just tunnels, it’s good tunnels. Metacognitive Regulation – planning, monitoring, control and evaluation We’re going to get the purple string out today. They’ve done it all wrong. Emotional and Motivational Regulation – emotional/motivational monitoring and control I didn’t like it when they sweeped all the sand. Because it’s my favourite thing to do. C.IndLe Coding Scheme (Whitebread et al ) Reflective Dialogues - analysis using C.IndLe

12 An excerpt from Daniel and Kelly’s Reflective Dialogue I:So what was your best idea when you were in the garden looking for all the bugs? D:Um I don’t know, actually. :Well, you seem to have had lots of ideas. What was your favourite one that you’re doing? D:Um, knocking them all over, see if there’s ants, big ants…and, and I couldn’t find them. I:Oh, why was that do you think? D:Cos they was…cos it didn’t… cos they wasn’t under them logs, they wasn’t under them logs, only the other logs. I:Oh, that was a shame. So how did you feel when you couldn’t find the ants? D:Sad.

13 Preliminary findings: Children’s strand - metacognitive behaviour in Reflective Dialogues Sample of 83 units of metacognitive behaviour: Metacognitive Knowledge: 41 Of persons:22 Of tasks:5 Of strategies:14 Metacognitive Regulation: 20 Planning:15 Monitoring:5 Control:1 Evaluation:1 Emotional and Motivational Regulation: 20 Monitoring:18 Control:2

14 Preliminary findings: Children’s strand - Metacognitive Behaviour in Reflective Dialogues and Observations M K: Metacognitive Knowledge M R: Metacognitive Regulation E M: Emotional and Motivational Regulation

15 Parents’ and Carers’ Perspectives Aims and Objectives To scrutinize links between home and school; To identify opportunities for creative thinking at home; To discover whether parents are aware of what their child does at school; To elicit views of parents about: –Whether they could be given more knowledge about this –Whether they want more knowledge about this.

16 Family Partnership Model Partnership Helper qualities Helper skills Process outcomes Parent characteristics

17 Method 6 parents: 2 from each of 3 settings 40 Questionnaires (Evaluation of Children’s Creative Thinking) to parent/carers; Audio recorded semi-structured interviews.

18 Qualitative data: Daniel’s mother ‘ we just don’t know what they’re doing at school. It’d be handy if they told us more cos they…..well the only time we get information is when we come to parents evening like…’

19 ‘ No. (pointing to video) that’s not Daniel, not at all. He’s always got children telling him what to do. He don’t play on his own. Daniel….he’ll try something once and if it goes wrong he won’t go back and do it again he just walks away. Yet here he’s completely different.’

20 Preliminary findings: Parents’ and carers’ strand Teachers and parents exchange information, but do not always engage in reciprocal communication; Information about children’s creative thinking is rarely shared; Parents expressed a lack of confidence in and understanding of their ability to support children’s creative thinking at home.

21 Teachers’ perspectives: Method 6 teachers: 2 from each of 3 settings 65 Questionnaires (Evaluation of Children’s Creative Thinking) and Student-Teacher Relationship Scales (Pianta, 2001), at beginning and end of a school year; Audio recorded semi-structured interviews.

22 Teacher-child relationships and creative thinking ‘… that is such a sensitive thing and somehow…sometimes just the tiniest thing that you do can enable a child to think more creatively…the tiniest thing…and sometimes it’s just a question of pushing a pencil a bit nearer to them.’

23 Preliminary findings: Teachers’ strand Teachers’ lack of confidence in working with some children, particularly boys, may be affecting the quality of teacher-child relationships with them; The ways professionals evaluate children’s creative thinking does have a predictive value on their perceptions of teacher-child relationships, although they seem to create the environment regardless of their perceived relationships with them.


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