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Reclaiming Childhood: what this means for early years education - Helene Guldberg


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Helene Guldberg, author and lecturer, Open University.

Curriculum for Excellence - A Creative Curriculum, Friday 24th & Saturday 25th April 2009, Crawfurd Theatre, Glasgow.

Published in: Education, Self Improvement
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Reclaiming Childhood: what this means for early years education - Helene Guldberg

  1. 1. Reclaiming Childhood: freedom and play in an age of fear <ul><li>Children need unsupervised play : </li></ul><ul><li>To test boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Experiment </li></ul><ul><li>Take risks </li></ul><ul><li>Have arguments and fights </li></ul><ul><li>Learn to resolve conflicts </li></ul>
  2. 2. ‘ Modern world is damaging children’ <ul><li>Palmer, S. (2006) Toxic Childhood: How The Modern World Is Damaging Our Children And What We Can Do About It. </li></ul><ul><li>IPPR (2006) Freedom’s Orphans: Raising Youth in a Changing World . </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s Society (2009) A Good Childhood. </li></ul><ul><li>Mayo, E & Nairn, A (2009) Consumer Kids: How Business is Grooming our Children for Profit . </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The modern world is not providing kids with what they need to develop, which includes: ‘real food (as opposed to processed “junk”), real play (as opposed to sedentary, screen-based entertainment), first-hand experience of the world they live in, and regular interaction with the real-life significant adults in their lives’. </li></ul>
  3. 3. 2007 UNICEF report Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries (21 countries). <ul><li>Material well-being: 18th </li></ul><ul><li>Health and Safety: 12th </li></ul><ul><li>Educational well-being: 17th </li></ul><ul><li>Family & peer relationships: 21st </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviours and risks: 21st </li></ul><ul><li>Subjective well-being: 20th </li></ul>
  4. 4. Cotton-wool kids?
  5. 5. ‘ Bullying’ can be good for you - leave pupils to sort out spats, says expert Helene Guldberg, associate lecturer in child development at the Open University, says bullying can be good for children Image removed for copyright reasons
  6. 6. The problem with anti-bullying campaigns <ul><li>Can create more permanent wedge </li></ul><ul><li>Can undermine the child’s ability to resolve the situation </li></ul><ul><li>Has contributed to the steady erosion of unsupervised play </li></ul><ul><li>Contributes to the gloomy picture of the world and other people </li></ul><ul><li>If we keep telling children they can be scarred for life by bullying it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Zone of Proximal Development <ul><li>'the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers' </li></ul><ul><li>Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society </li></ul>
  8. 8. The role of play in development <ul><li>Jean Piaget: </li></ul><ul><li>'Even the game of dolls is much less a pre-exercise of the maternal instinct than an infinitely varied symbolic system' which helps the child make sense of past experiences.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood </li></ul><ul><li>Lev Vygotsky: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ In play the child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behaviour; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Mind and Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes </li></ul>
  9. 9. Reclaim childhood and adulthood <ul><li>Stop seeing the world through such a negative lens and have more trust in ourselves and other people. </li></ul>