Young children's perspectives of outdoor pedagogical spaces: animated and entangled becomings
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 00:46 by Jane Rebecca Merewether
This thesis-by-publication charts animated and entangled becomings emerging out of encounters in outdoor spaces at two early learning centres in Perth, Western Australia. Deploying multimodal and multiperspectival research approaches used by the educators of Reggio Emilia (Davies, 2014a; Fleet, Patterson, & Robertson, 2006, 2012, 2017; Giamminuti, 2013; Giudici, Rinaldi, & Krechevsky, 2001; Pacini-Ketchabaw, Nxumalo, Kocher, Elliot, & Sanchez, 2015) and the Mosaic approach (Clark & Moss, 2001; Clark, 2017), the research which contributes to the thesis assemblage began with an intent to explore ways of seeking the perspectives of young children whose communication often does not rely on words. In that process, however, the children brought the author's attention to the forces of the materials in the spaces, highlighting the intra-action (Barad, 2007) of human and nonhuman matter. The thesis, therefore, moves from a predominantly sociocultural worldview into one increasingly informed by theories of new materialism and posthumanism. The thesis follows a shift from conventional thematic analysis into experimentations with diffractive analysis (Barad, 2007; Haraway, 1992), leading to a proposal of a "murmurative diffraction" approach to research. Throughout the thesis, children's sensitivity to the liveliness to the world, revealed through their animation of materials, objects and things, is a constant refrain. The implications of this study for researchers and teachers in educational settings in a time of unprecedented environmental devastation is to ensure we are attentive to the perspectives of human and nonhumans. Educational settings are an assemblage of intra-active human and nonhuman materials in which humans are not the only custodians of knowing (Barad, 2007). This needs researchers and teachers to be open and alert to the intra-actions that may occur, including children's "enchanted animism" and attentiveness to the surrounding materiality. It requires flexible approaches which recognise that researching and teaching are always becoming with (Haraway, 2008) the materials around us.