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Title: Listening to young children : an investigation of children's day care experience in children's centres
Author: Day, Sara
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 9494
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2009
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The provision of day care in Children's Centres is considered to be one of the key delivery mechanisms to achieve outcomes for children as set out in the Every Child Matters Agenda (DfES, 2003). The outcomes include, being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and economic well-being. The aim is to improve outcomes for all young children and in particular close the gap between the most disadvantaged and others. It is the intention that outcomes for children will be improved by increasing high quality integrated childcare and early learning. Although the need to obtain children's views on services is recognised in government policy and guidance for Children's Centres, research and practice suggests that this has not taken place for day care. Absent in the research has been an investigation of changes and improvements in day care based on listening to the children. This small scale qualitative research investigated how young children were experiencing and enjoying their day care in Children's Centres and how this could be improved through listening to them. The questions that were addressed were; How are children experiencing day care in Children's Centres? What is it about their day care experiences that children enjoy? How can we 'make it better' for children in day care? Six young children receiving full-time day care in two nurseries based in Children's Centres were selected. Tools, including a full day observation, interview, tours, use of cameras and role play were developed to listen to each child. An ethnographic approach to data gathering was employed to gain insights from the children's perspectives and to enable them to take a lead in showing how they were experiencing and enjoying their day care. Findings were obtained through an instrumental case study design employing multiple methods, triangulation and an inductive methodological and analytical approach. The critical realist epistemological approach underpinning the research permitted consideration of how important aspects of day care could be improved and constructed based on a unified voice of the children. Main findings and the contribution of this research were as follows; • Relationships with carers and other children had high importance to these children in day care. • A significant finding was the children's enjoyment and choice of a wide range of play and early learning activities in the nurseries. • There were shortcomings in the day care of older children relating to the availability of key adults and their interactions with adults. • There may be assumptions underlying day care practices that are based on the needs of nurseries not children. • Children may have needs related to attachment with key adults and children in day care settings. Implications of findings for the development of day care practices, research and the contribution of educational psychology are discussed in context of the literature. The contribution of the research to the development of tools, methodologies and inductive approaches to listen to young children is highlighted. The psychological need for children's attachments with adults and children within day care settings is uniquely raised. Implications for extension of attachment theory and the development of relationships in day care contexts are explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.App.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available