Video: Challenging Negative Perceptions around the ‘African Child’ (Childhood and Society Seminar Series)

This free online event was hosted on Monday 12th July 2021.

Dr Evelyn Corrado, Roehampton University & Dr Leena Robertson, Middlesex University

Contemporary childhood studies have portrayed the ‘African child’ as one who is vulnerable and disadvantaged. The developing world construct is a ‘western’ preconceived label, which shapes a universal deprived position for Africans. Nonetheless, this dichotomy is not representative of most African childhoods, which are comfortable and remain unveiled.

The chapter argues that there is need to restructure the African childhood outlook, drawing from their perspectives. A critical analysis will concern the discourses of the ‘African child’ produced by the universal childhood theories, the African childhood accounts and also the current economic and social positions of Africa. The conclusion contends that the African childhood constructions should be re-assessed through ethnography and robust education, for emancipation. This supports the UN Convention rights of the Child’s recognition of children’s right of self-determination.

Dr Evelyn Wandia Corrado Bio 

Dr Evelyn Corrado is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Froebel College in the University of Roehampton. She is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Evelyn study background is Psychology (MSc and BSc) and Sociology of Education. Her Ph.D. research explored dialogic pedagogies in Kenya. Evelyn grew up in Kenya and has a tremendous social-cultural understanding of the African context, which informs her work. Previously, Evelyn worked in UK Mental Health Sector for 9 years and later as an academic tutor at Middlesex University for four years (in the BA Education program).

 

Professor Jayne Osgood presents on the ‘mutated modest witness’ at SERA’s Early Years Network (video online)

Following an invitation, on 2nd June 2021, Professor Jayne Osgood presented her current research to the Scottish Education Research Association (SERA) Early Years Network. Her paper explored the  promise of Haraway’s ‘mutated modest witness’ to undertaking early childhood research on play and pedagogy, differently, as a means to consider the worldly connections and ethical responsibilities that researchers have when researching with young children.

You can watch the video online via the Early Years Network Video youtube channel (third video down).

Video: Hybrid-Transitions as a Space for Children’s Agency. A Case-Study from a Pre-kindergarten in Boston. (Free, online seminar hosted on Monday 28th June 2021)

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.

Video: Feminism, Gender Justice and Resistance in Early Childhood Education (Professor Jayne Osgood)

Professor Jayne Osgood was an invited speaker at the third and final event in RECE’s (In)justices and Counteractions in Early Childhood Contexts virtual engagement series. The webinar addressed gender issues in Early Childhood Education and feminist theories and solutions that situate such issues. Drawing on a range of feminisms, the panellists explored rethinking gender binaries in relation to emerging and persistent transgender identities, intersectionality and power of BIPOC collectives, feminist tales of teaching and resistance in Reggio Emilia, Italy and rewriting gender into European early childhood philosophies.

The conversation with Alexandra Gunn, An Intersectional/ity Collective, Beatrice Vittoria Balfour and Jayne Osgood was moderated by Rachel Langford and Janice Kroeger and included a Q & A conversation amongst panelists at the end of the 60-minute panel. A 30-minute informal “salon” conversation session with the audience followed the formal programme.

The webinar took place on 26/27 May, 2021 and was entitled Feminism, Gender Justice and Resistance in Early Childhood Education. For more information about RECE, and how to join the organisation, visit: http://www.receinternational.org.

Video: Down the Back of a Chair – What does a method of scrabbling with Le Guin’s ‘Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’ offer conceptualisations of ‘the child’ in the Anthropocene? (Childhood and Society Seminar, Monday 14th June 2021, with Professor Victoria de Rijke and Professor Jayne Osgood)

In this paper we work with Ursula Le Guin’s (1986) Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction to offer a reconfiguration of ‘the book’ in early childhood contexts. By attending to the relational agencies that are generated from messy entanglements of reader-book-child-chair-cat-lice-mites…we are compelled to feel our way round to arrive at other ideas about what books are, what books do and what else they might potentiate in contemporary imaginations of ‘the child’. Le Guin retells the story of human origin by redefining technology as a cultural ‘carrier bag’ rather than a weapon of domination. She argues that the bag is recipient, holder, story, sack – for holding words-; in turn, ‘words hold things.’ The carrier bag theory allows room for everything and everyone. This generous and generative mode of enquiry frees us from the limitations of the linear, heroic anthropocentric/phallogocentric (Braidotti, 2013) narrative and instead opens up opportunities to explore stories with no happy-ever-after but instead embrace speculations about what else unfolds as we forage and gather along the way. We offer a scrabbling methodology: fragments of stories and sketches from imaginative and ‘real’ reading experiences coalesce with a method of scrabbling ‘down the back of the chair’ (both literally and metaphorically). This feminist methodology attunes to assemblages of odds and ends, hair and dust mites, children’s literature and child readers and facilitates a deep exploration of the intersectional, spatial, relational meanings that might tell us something else about childhood in the Anthropocene.

Video: Social Leadership in Early Childhood Education – An introduction with Dr Mona Sakr (recorded seminar from Monday 17th May 2021)

Unfortunately, our recording began a few minutes into the presentation. The first slides provide an overview of the talk and explain that this is a joint research project between Dr Mona Sakr and June O’Sullivan MBE, CEO of London Early Years Foundation.

Why do we need more social leaders in early childhood education?

How can we work towards social justice through early childhood education?

How do leaders in early childhood education embed a social purpose and social pedagogy?

Social leaders approach early childhood education (ECE) as an opportunity to contribute to social justice. They blend the skills of pedagogical leadership, making social change and entrepreneurship in order to create ECE organisations that drive social change for children and families living in disadvantage. In this seminar, Dr Mona Sakr will present her recent research on social leadership in ECE, which has been conducted in close partnership with June O’Sullivan MBE (CEO of London Early Years Foundation; LEYF). The research focuses on the in-depth analysis of the practices of LEYF and 15 interviews with global leaders in ECE, driving social change through the organisations they lead. The seminar will explain why we need more social leadership in ECE, how social leadership works, and what it looks and feels like on the ground.

Dr Mona Sakr researches early childhood education, with a current focus on leadership, workforce development and organisational climate.

Dr Abele Longo to present on Danilo Dolci’s Ecological Maieutics at the University of Turin

Dr Abele Longo has been invited by Professor Emanuela Guarcello, course leader of “Istituzioni e storia della pedagogia contemporanea”  at the University of Turin, to deliver a seminar on 19 May on Danilo Dolci’s Ecological Maieutics and its application in the Mirto Education Centre.

This follows on from Abele’s popular seminar (as part of the Childhood and Society seminar series for CERS) on Danilo Dolci, which you can watch here.

If you are interested in attending Abele’s presentation at the University of Turin, please contact Professor Guarcello at emanuela.guarcello@unito.it.

Video: Storytelling in early years leadership: The power of sharing what we do

This symposium was hosted online on Thursday 22nd April 2021.

How can we use stories to communicate the importance of the early years to others?
How can we strengthen parent and community links through sharing stories?
How can we grow storytelling as part of our advocacy work?

Symposium Schedule

4.30pm               Welcome

4.35pm               Presentations

  • Jacqueline Lamb, CEO of Indigo Childcare Group, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Valerie Daniel, nursery school headteacher and EY advocate
  • Nichole Leigh Mosty, EY centre director turned Icelandic politician

5.10pm               Breakout rooms

In groups you are going to make up a story about early years – the story you think we need to be telling. You might find it helpful to work through these questions together.

  • Who is the audience? Who needs to hear this story?
  • What is the moral of the story? What message are you hoping to get across? Is there a call to action as part of the story?
  • Who is this story about? Who is the protagonist?
  • What journey is the protagonist on? What are they trying to overcome?
  • What are the critical moments in the story? What are the turning points?

5.25pm               Feedback from breakout rooms: telling the stories!

5.50pm               Final words.

Figuring gender in early childhood with animal figurines – pursuing tentacular stories about global childhoods in the Anthropocene. 12-12.45pm, Monday 19th April 2021 (free, online)

This paper considers the potential that a feminist new materialist theoretical framework makes to undertaking research into global childhoods as they materialise through everyday encounters with learning materials in a nursery classroom in London, UK. We trouble prevailing philosophies, pedagogies and worldviews that both frame practice and circulate within the nursery classroom. We then go on to pursue tentacular, diffractive lines of enquiry that open out understandings of childhood that view it as inextricably interwoven through endless worldly connections to non-innocent matters such as heteronormativity, capitalist manufacturing, industrial farming and meat eating. Inspired by Haraway (1988) we rely upon our situated knowledges and partial perspectives to activate this mode of enquiry as both unsettling and generative. By taking matter seriously we agitate a curious set of speculative questions about the (non-)innocence of childhood and how gender manifests in unanticipated ways in early childhood contexts and beyond.

Bio: Dr Jayne Osgood is Professor of Education (Early Years & Gender) based at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University. Her present methodologies and research practices are framed by feminist new materialism. Through her work she seeks to maintain a concern with issues of social justice and to critically engage with early childhood policy, curricular frameworks and pedagogical approaches. Through her work she seeks to extend understandings of the workforce, families, ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’ in early years contexts. She has published extensively within the postmodernist paradigm including Special Issues of the journal Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood (2006, 2016 and 2017) and Narratives from the Nursery: negotiating professional identities in Early Childhood (Routledge, 2012) and currently Feminist Thought in Childhood Research (Bloomsbury Series). She is a member of several editorial boards including Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, British Education Research Journal, and is Co-Editor of Gender & Education Journal and Co-Editor of Reconceptualising Education Research Methodology.

Bio: Sid Mohandas is a former Montessori educator and teacher trainer. He is also the founder of The Male Montessorian. Sid is currently doing his doctorate at Middlesex University investigating how gender materialises in Montessori spaces using feminist ’new’ materialist and decolonial theories.