Reconceptualising materials as practice in Early Childhood

Year: 2016

Author: Boucher, Kelly

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Developmental logic frames much thought and practice in Early Childhood Education (ECE) and is underpinned by developmental psychology theories (NAEYC, n.d). These theoretical approaches draw from developmental psychologists such as Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997) and are perspectives which have contributed to the concept of ‘Developmentally Appropriate Practice’ (DAP) (NAEYC, n.d). Developmental psychology perspectives create an image of the child as incompetent and incapable where the adults in charge make decisions about learning, play and materials based on ‘appropriate practice’ (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997; Ryan & Grieshaber, 2005; Canella & Viruru, 1997). There is a direct relationship between DAP and materials as traditional developmental approaches assume that all children engage with the same materials, in the same way ie: the ‘universal child’ (Canella & Viruru,1997).Thinking with materials in ECE attends to the movement from a developmental logic to a new materialist ontology. New materialism offers a post-developmental step forward (Lenz-Taguchi, 2011; 2014) into new ways of engaging materials in Early Childhood settings. By introducing new materialist thinking to move from developmentally appropriate practice, this presentation will look at how materials might be identified as doing significant pedagogical work with children. This presentation will begin with an historical overview of materials in ECE to situate current thinking and identify the dominant discourse. Secondly the material discourse of ECE will be discussed and conceptual shifts in the use of materials will be identified. Finally, in order to reconceptualise and reposition materials as engaging with children in learning encounters, new ways of thinking with and doing materials in ECE will be explored. ReferencesBredekamp, S., & Copple, C. (1997). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs (Rev. ed.). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Canella, G., & Viruru, R. (1997). Privileging child-centered, play-based instruction. G. Canella Deconstructing Early Childhood Education: social justice and revolution. New York: Peter Lang.Lenz-Taguchi, H. (2011). Investigating learning, participation and becoming inearly childhood practices with a relational materialist approach. Global Studies of Childhood, 1(1), 36-50.Lenz-Taguchi, H. (2014). New materialisms and play. In: Brooker, E., Blaise, M., & Edwards, S. (Eds.). (2014). SAGE Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood. Sage.NAEYC, (n.d), 12 Principles of Child Development, Retrieved April 15, 2006, from, S., & Grieshaber, S. (2005). Shifting from developmental to postmodern practices in early childhood teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 56(1), 34-45.