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Children’s Perspectives on Their Everyday Life in Two Cultures: Denmark and the United States Sydney 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Children’s Perspectives on Their Everyday Life in Two Cultures: Denmark and the United States Sydney 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Children’s Perspectives on Their Everyday Life in Two Cultures: Denmark and the United States Sydney 2014

2 Dr. Grethe Kragh-Müller Department of Education Aarhus University Denmark

3 Children in Postmodern Society – new competences are needed Postmodern society: Globalized and multicultural. In postmodern society new competences are needed – a strong sense of self, social competences, and creativity. As society changes quickly it is important to be able to change and learn throughout life together with others. Children are becoming part of the democratic process in society.

4 1989: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Children of today should be given the right to be heard in all matters affecting them. We, as adults, ask children about their opinions, their experiences, their attitudes and about how they feel, e.g. in DK parents divorce, placement outside home, their perspectives on school life and life in child care. We listen to them and take their answers seriously Why ask children?

5 Research: Quality in Child Care Background: Reductions on public spending and at the same time imposing new laws concerning plans for learning Title of project: Perspectives on quality in child care. Purpose: What are the effects of the changed conditions in Danish child care centres in relation to the development of pedagogical quality in these centres. Theory: Sociocultural theories. Method: Observations and interviews with pedagogs, parents and children in child care centres in different culturel settings – Denmark, Christiania and USA.

6 What is Quality in Child Care? Being and becoming Quantitative measures (e.g. Ecers R scale, Naeyc). Measures according to specific standards. Qualitative research: Interviewing teachers, parents and children on their views on quality in child care to discover more about different views on quality. NB: This is a study trying to explore the concept og quality in child care in different settings – NOT a study of which child care is best or if one culture is better than the others.

7 Child Care in USA Government and state provide some funding for children living in poverty Some states – such as Tennessee – are moving to universal Pre-K Most programs are funded by parent`s fees – quality costs more.

8 Child Care in Denmark Denmark – small country in Scandinavia, 5,5 million people Most public services are funded by tax. Child care is partly funded by tax, parents pay 35 %. Child care is established and run by local communities. 98% of Danish children go to child care.

9 Results of project – observations. Activity Setting Analysis The personnel present and their availability throughout the children`s daily rutines. The nature of the activities or tasks being performed. The purpose of the activities and tasks. The scripts and discourses that guide that guide the children`s participation in activities, tasks and daily rutines. Cultural values, goals and beliefs.

10 USA Staff present: Teachers consistently supervise and interact with children. Activities: Specific, planned activities. Learning centres for play. Centres set up for learning by teachers. Cirkel time: Story telling and teaching different subjects. Purpose of activities. Teachers supervise and interact with children for the purpose of learning. Specific, planned activities to support learning. Discourse: Schools, classrooms, teachers. Values: Relationships between teachers and children are friendly but formal. Care for children considered important. Weight on proper behavior.

11 Staff present: Short interactions between pedagogs and children. Activities: Free play. Weight on outdoor play. Staff supervise childrens play. Purpose of activities: Children supposed to learn from self-initiated play and daily rutines. Toys and materials put on shelves for the children to take out. Once or twice a week – planned activities. Discourse: Child care child`s second home. Pedagogs share responsibility for children`s development with parents. Values: Relationships between pedagogs and children: Equal and informal. Focus on acknowledging relationships between children and pedagogs. Denmark

12 Drawings as a method Children express themselves through different media – e.g. words, body, language, play, drawings, play-dough, constructing. Drawing as a way of collecting data best from 5- 6 years. You can get data from more children. You need to interview each child about their drawing so that you do not interpret it wrongly. It is easier for older children to describe good things and bad things about child care and school.

13 Children`s drawings Best in child care USA DK Play……………… Play with friends… Play inside………… 3 3 Play outside………. 6 8 Write letters……….. 1 Art center………….. 1 Read books……….. 1

14 Best in child care - USA

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16 Best in child care - DK

17 Drawings Worst in child care USA DK Not to have somebody to play with…. 7 8 When others take your toys…………. 3 Conflicts between children……………2 3 When somebody teases you…………1 3 Getting into trouble…………………….2 Circle time………………………………1 Naptime………………………………....2 Drawing………………………………….1 Angry teachers………………………… 3

18 Worst in child care - USA

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20 Worst in child care - DK

21 Interviewing children Know developmental stages of children at different ages. Know their interests and daily lives. Get a good contact. Use different methods. Active listening – listen to verbal and nonverbal language. Repeat to child – make sure you understand the childs perspective. Reflect your interpretation. Reflect discourses in childhood education.

22 Best in child care - USA. The very best is playing – inside in play areas and outside. Play inside: Dolls house, blockcorner, dress-up corner, play games, cars. Play outside: Drive cars, climb trees, running, slide, pick flowers. That you can choose what you want to play. Difference in children`s preferred activity

23 Do not like in child care To be put in the office, for time out or on a chair Cross teachers Fights and conflicts Nap time Tidy up Some children

24 Relationship with teachers Som teachers are nice – they do nice things, have a nice face and say nice words. They let the children choose. Some teachers are not nice – they have a cross face, put children into the office or on a chair.

25 Relationships with other children All children like to play with other children. Most children have children they dislike. Some children have difficulty in finding friends – and feel upset about it.

26 Children`s Perspectives on Quality in Child Care - USA Quality is when you can play in play-areas ( have many options) that you can choose yourself. Quality is nice teachers – teachers that are kind, do kind things and do not put you in the office, on time out or on a chair. Quality is to have friends to play with. The children are different – like to play in different corners Some active children (mostly boys) can have a hard time fitting in according to the rules and expressing feelings in words.

27 Best in Child Care - DK To play with other children and have friends. Play inside: Tarzan room, make drawings, play with dolls and ponies, play kitchen. Play outside: Swings, slide, climbing, play football, running, play with toy-guns. When you can choose what to do. Have fun with pedagogs.

28 Do not like in Child care When you have not got friends to play with. The many conflicts between the children – when somebody hits you, throws sand on you, tease you. When pedagogs get mad at you and tell you off, especially if you feel that you did not do anything. When there is nowhere you can play. Would like more things to play with and do.

29 Relationships with pedagogs Some pedagogs nice – they play, tell stories and make fun. Some pedagogs are cross, tell children off, put them on chair. Children do not like these adults. Like when adults play and make fun. Like adults that are flexible with rules. Like to do things together with adults – e.g. puzzles and football.

30 Relationsships with children Very important for children to have friends. Difficult if you have no friends. Many conflicts between children – difficult for the children to solve alone.

31 Children`s Perspectives on Quality in Child Care: Denmark Quality is good friends to play with. Quality is to have an influence on everyday life. Quality is nice pedagogs, that treats you well, are nice and sometimes do things with you. Adults that make fun and are flexible with rules. Quality is to have many things to play with and do. Quality is when the pedagogs help create good play relationsships between children. Children are different – is is difficult if you don`t have friends or if you have a hard time handling the conflicts between children.

32 Children`s Perspectives on Quality- USA and DK Similarities: Play. To have an influence on everyday life Nice teachers – kind, do not tell you off or put you in the office. Friends to play with.

33 Children`s Perspectives on Quality in Child Care. Differences: Danish children: Would like better play environment and quality materials. Very important to have friends. Describe many conflicts between children. Relationsships between children and pedagogs more equal. American children: Describe good play environments and opportunities to choose. Less emphasis on importance of friends. More dislikes of other children. Especially active children have a hard time in the office or on the chair. Relationsships between children and teachers less equal.

34 Creating environments for children in preshool Areas where children can play. A variety of things to play with To have an influence on their own lives Good relationsships Small places/corners Places where you can hide, peepholes, looking down Variation


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