“Eat, play, go, repeat”: Theorising time and temporality in Outside School Hours Care for older children

Year: 2016

Author: Hurst, Bruce

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Time is inescapable in education settings. Children’s and educator’s lives are measured broadly by years and school terms, and on a daily basis by hours, minutes and seconds. Clock time also governs Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services. Meal times, activities, routines and staffing are all informed by school timetables and parents’ working schedules. But do adults and children always experience and practice time in the same ways? This session presents findings from my PhD research project into the experiences of older children in OSHC. This was a small, ethnographic and participatory research project that sought the views of older children (aged nine to twelve years) about OSHC, positioning them as co-researchers rather than objects of research (Kellett, 2010). The participants engaged in a combination of project work, focus group activities and interviews to support them in forming and communicating a view on the research question (Clark & Moss, 2001; Lundy & McEvoy, 2012). In OSHC, older children are a minority, often marginalised and conceptualised as more challenging to work with and unsuited to OSHC (Hurst, 2015). This project sought the views of older children on the question of what should OSHC look like for children their age.This presentation will explore the complexities of time and temporality in one OSHC setting from the perspectives of older children. Adam (2004) argues that as well as being measured scientifically, time is also practised socially. This paper will consider whether the research participants experience the passing of time through the presence or absence of peers, and the types of play and leisure they engage in.How adults conceptualise and practise time has implications for the settings we provide for children. When applied industrially and economically, time functions as a disciplinary tool linked to ideas like productivity and outcomes (Adam, 2004; Rose & Whitty, 2010). In play-based settings like OSHC, how time is practised has implications for the leisureliness of curriculum and relationships with children (Christensen, James, & Jenks, 2001; Rose & Whitty, 2010). The session will trouble the adult application of clock time in OSHC, a leisure setting that is becoming increasingly regulated and governed, and what the implications might be for children.