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First experience of crossing borders… Liz Brooker Institute of Education University of London UK.

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Presentation on theme: "First experience of crossing borders… Liz Brooker Institute of Education University of London UK."— Presentation transcript:

1 First experience of crossing borders… Liz Brooker Institute of Education University of London UK

2 Outline of the presentation Issues in early transitions Context, methods and analysis Adult strategies for wellbeing Children’s contributions to wellbeing Outcomes of ‘good transitions’ Reflections and themes to consider

3 Issues in early transitions Transitions: a change of setting and a change in role or identity Early transitions, early stages of identity-formation Wellbeing as a goal: what is included? Wellbeing: how is it identified? Relationships and friendships to support wellbeing in transitions

4 Wellbeing: the goal of transitions Wellbeing as an outcome of ‘involvement’ (Laevers & Heylen) Wellbeing as the outcome of five indicators (Every Child Matters: UK) Wellbeing as one of five key dispositions (Te Whaariki: NZ) Wellbeing as the sum of physical, social, emotional health, in relationship with others

5 Relationships: the means to wellbeing Transitions as ‘relationship formation’ Relationships as ‘links between systems’ Relationships with key workers and caregivers Friendships as an aid to transition Vulnerable identities during transitions

6 Context, methods and analysis City Fields Children’s Centre: Babies, Toddlers, Kindergarten, family and community services Twelve child case studies: observation and interviews with parent and key worker Ethnographic approach to the culture of the setting and activities Analysis generated from data

7 Sample of children (anonymised) Billy: 7 months Anglo-Welsh boy Hana: 15 months Danish-Turkish girl Liam: 17 months Anglo-American boy Lillian, key worker Yuk Yue: 24 months Chinese girl Kerry, key worker Davey: 26 months English boy Sara, key worker

8 Emergent categories Contributions to the wellbeing of the child the child’s own initiatives and efforts the key worker’s professional roles initiatives and efforts of other children preparatory and ongoing work by family member Signs of wellbeing in the child

9 Some important codes C/IRA: child initiates relationship with adult C/IRC: child initiates relationship with child C/ILA: child initiates or leads activity A/FCL: follows child’s lead A/RCI: responds to child’s initiative A/IRC: initiates relationship with child A/ILA: initiates or leads activity

10 Adult strategies for wellbeing: ‘Follow the child’ I think you do have different relationships,, because someone like Liam especially is quite independent …; then Hana I had to work very hard at, so that was a very different relationship; for me it was a case of, we’d gone through something together that was quite hard for her, quite difficult, and with perseverance we’d got through it together, so that was quite an experience and we’d had quite a strong relationship, quite a strong bond [Lillian interview]

11 Adult strategies for wellbeing: ‘Mirror their routines… and teach them ours’ I think once he’d got his routine, and realised dad was coming back, he got the routine established and I would talk him through that during the day, so he asked me frequently. There are quite a few children that we have that frequently ask about the routines of the day and Davey needs that for security. So, it’s just explaining, a little bit of lunch and then daddy will come back… [Sara, Interview about Davey] I think there are routines that are predictable, things like lunchtime and stuff like that, they are predictable, but then again we do talk to the children an awful lot about routines! [Lillian, Interview]

12 Adult strategies for wellbeing: ‘Make a bridge’ Talking about families and special people Sharing and reflecting emotions Recalling the child’s home experiences Connecting the child with other children in the key group Connecting the child and the nursery with the larger world

13 Children’s contributions to wellbeing Offering comfort Sharing pleasurable activity Pleasurable social interaction Sharing food and chat Joint activity: attaching to the group Overtures to adults and others Adult and child strategies closely entwine and are hard to separate

14 Offering comfort Ben (19 months) watches silently as Lillian carries Hana to the window to ‘wave daddy goodbye’; Hana appears to be too angry, as well as upset, to comply, and Lillian soon sets her down and sits beside her, talking gently to her. Ben looks around purposefully and identifies a small bright yellow bear among the soft toys on the cushions, which he picks up and offers to Hana. Hana angrily pushes his arm away but he persists in gently holding the bear towards her, until eventually she becomes quieter and accepts it.

15 Sharing pleasurable activity Hana (18 mo) is passing Billy (7 mo), who has a basket of sounds objects, and decides to stop and sit down with him; she squats and then kneels a short distance from him, and picks up two metal jar-lids, which she bangs together experimentally; she then repeats the action with more intention and pleasure, and begins to interact teasingly with Billy, who looks at her with interest; she continues to bang, pause, look, tease and turn-take with Billy, and both giggle

16 Making overtures to others Yuk Yue, aged 24 months She has been talking to Carrie, who now leaves the conservatory to go in the garden; another key worker comes by and Yuk Yue climbs on to her lap and hugs her with a big squeeze. They chat briefly then this key worker also passes on into the garden [Observation, week 4] She is playing in the sand indoors alongside other children; she approaches a new staff member as she enters the room and gives her a tin of sand with a spoon in it (and is thanked). Then goes to collect a new container of sand which she takes to Kerry (sitting at a playdough table); Kerry enacts pleasure and gratitude and offers this ‘drink’ to the children sitting with her. [Observation, week 5]

17 Outcomes: the signs of wellbeing Enjoying relationships with peers and adults Demonstrating involvement, satisfaction and flow Communicating views and feelings, verbally or non-verbally Exploring, extending and persisting Contributing to the wellbeing of others Showing signs of belonging

18 A sense of belonging? Yuk Yue You can tell when children come with a smile – some children need to be brought in, they’ll stand outside the classroom; other children just come in on their own and I think if they cross that door on their own, without an adult, to me that’s when they’re starting to feel like, This is my area, this is me, this is where I’m happy; I belong here – I don’t need an invitation, I can just come in and be here and play with what I want to, it’s ownership… and Yuk Yue comes in with a smile! [Kerry, Interview about Yuk Yue] When she arrives! Oh yes, because she stands here, and she sings a song and she runs on in! [Parent Interview]

19 Reflections, themes for development Transitions into care settings are viewed as individual ‘achievements’ but are always social and collective Adults are viewed as scaffolding experiences and relationships but these are always co-constructed Language as a tool of communication, learning and culture, is equally important where groups include pre-verbal children


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