Seminar: Hybrid-Transitions as a Space for Children’s Agency. A Case-Study from a Pre-kindergarten in Boston. 12-12.45pm Monday 28th June 2021 (free, online)

Angela Scollan, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood, Middlesex University

This contribution presents an innovative concept, hybrid-transitions, as a theoretical tool to explore transitions between the digital and non-digital worlds as spaces at the intersection of young children’s agency and the limitations imposed by their position in society. Following a discussion of the idea that the passage between digital worlds and non-digital worlds during the using of technologies by groups of young children is a dense and social space, rather than a mere temporal sequence, the contribution will illustrate its theoretical argument using empirical data, collected during the observation of digital practices in a pre-kindergarten in the City of Boston. In particular, the examples provided suggest that children’s agency may be expressed in form of authorship of narratives based on personal memories and knowledge, evolving into collective interlaced narrative during peer-interaction. In the conclusion, it is argued that adults should carefully observe hybrid transitional spaces, and immerse themselves into the worlds and realms children construct and visit, in order to appreciate and promote children’s creative and, often unseen, social skills.

Bio: Angela Scollan is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Education Studies at Middlesex University. Previously, she has worked as a Manager and Foundation Degree Coordinator in a Further Education College and as a freelance Early Years Ofsted Inspector. In 2010, Angela opened her own training company, ‘Emerald Early Years and Education’, offering bespoke training and CPD to promote high-quality, sustainable, and reflective early years leadership and provision. Since the early 1990s, Angela has worked directly with and for children positioning her practice within a transdisciplinary approach and as a rights-based advocate. Her teaching philosophy, research and writing focus on the child first whilst touching on an array of themes relevant to education and care: adults-children interactions; rights-based pedagogies, leadership and management, self-determination, reflective practice, critical education studies, environments and partnerships that enable. As an activist against educational disadvantage, Angela has worked with many local authorities to support inclusion and equality in education across England towards enhanced social mobility. Angela has recently undertaken research with an EU-funded project, observing how facilitation and the use of visual materials can encourage the production of shared memories and dialogue in intercultural educational settings.