In Search of a Childhood Landscape : Historical Narratives From a Queensland Kindergarten 1940-1965

Gahan, Deborah (2005) In Search of a Childhood Landscape : Historical Narratives From a Queensland Kindergarten 1940-1965. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

This dissertation details the study of the influences of historical discourses of early childhood on the recalled experiences of children, parents and teachers in a Queensland kindergarten between 1940 and 1965. The study investigates the interweaving of discourses of childhood and recounted experiences of kindergarten, drawing on the view that "different discursive practices produce different childhoods, each and all of which are 'real' within their own regime of truth" (James & Prout, 1997, p.26). The study builds a case for using an interpretive/constructionist historical approach to reframe the recounted narratives of those present in an historical kindergarten landscape, particularly the narratives of those who were children in that landscape.

To date, historical studies of early childhood education in Australia have largely focused on "big picture" issues of policy, practice and training, rather than on investigating and documenting the lived experiences of children and adults in particular early childhood contexts and historical eras. In contrast, this study takes a micro-history approach, focusing on one early childhood setting in a way that Mills & Mills (2000, p.165) argue enables the "complexity and richness of the big picture to be understood". Reiger (1993) suggests that growing interest in the social construction of childhood has increased awareness of "the agency of children as contributors to interpretations ... of their development" (p.4).While participants in my study look back on childhoods lived in a past era, their interpretations and feelings about events and practices that they observed and experienced as children at kindergarten provide a valuable perspective on the discourses which framed their childhoods. Findings from this study have the potential to broaden understandings of the impact on children of pedagogical approaches to early childhood education, and deepen awareness of the meaning of childhood at particular points in time.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16288
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Taylor, Sandra, Mallan, Kerry, & McLean, Sandra
Keywords: historical discourse, Queensland, Queensland kindergarten, between 1940 and 1965, early childhood education, micro-history approach
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Department: Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Deborah Gahan
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:00
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:45

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