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‘Noisy Neighbours’: Community cultural knowledge

1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
4:40 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (40 minutes)
In this paper, we aim to examine the finer detail of community cultural influences present in a toddler’s daily life, in a long day care setting in Australia. We do this in order to help answer our research question from a community perspective: How does an educator enter toddler’s play and position himself actively and meaningfully in the play? To discover cultural influences in a toddler’s daily life demands a methodology that takes a 360-degree view of the toddler’s whole community. The significance of surrounding community culture and its context for young children’s learning was suggested by Vygotsky (1994). We argue that the social situation surrounding the community childcare cooperative research site forms a vital source for the development of collective cultural knowledge for educator and toddler. The case example ‘Noisy Neighbours’ draws on digital visual and transcript data from research site’s participant families, toddlers, educators in the community childcare cooperative (Long day care centre), and the social setting. Nestled within a vibrant, noisy environment, the research site is located adjacent to train lines, roadways, buses, cars, bike tracks, scooters, music, ball park games and a dog park; evidence of ‘noisy neighbours’. The qualities of this location suggest that the keepers of community knowledge in this site help form culturally embedded influences in the lives of research participants. We see this demonstrated in the educator’s awareness of the social situation through his tacit embodiment of the focus toddler’s family life and the research site’s philosophy. We use the ‘Noisy Neighbours’ case example, as strong evidence of community cultural knowledge being shared between educator and toddlers. Our findings reveal how community cultural knowledge is pedagogically enacted by a playful educator who is highly attuned to the focus toddler’s social situation in the cooperative child care setting. We discover that shared community cultural knowledge can influence collective and meaningful learning for the focus toddler and her peers. This implies that a playful educator’s awareness of the broader social situation of a toddler’s community setting is significant in the development of collective cultural knowledge.
Monash University
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