Seeing is believing?: Insights from young children in nature

White, E 2015, 'Seeing is believing?: Insights from young children in nature', International Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 171-188.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Seeing is believing?: Insights from young children in nature
Author(s) White, E
Year 2015
Journal name International Journal of Early Childhood
Volume number 47
Issue number 1
Start page 171
End page 188
Total pages 18
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Abstract If the eye is a window to the soul, an important question to ask in the early years is "What do children see?" in their encounters with the world. Gaining a better understanding of children's interpretations is central to the pedagogical task of early childhood teachers, yet children are seldom asked to provide their points of view outside of adult frameworks for learning. A photograph can be assumed to contain shared and consistent meaning. However, using a Bakhtinian theoretical perspective and the notion of visual surplus that 'seeing' is much more than merely a visual process of looking, the research investigates the question, "What do children 'see' in nature based education beyond the home-based gate?" The analyses consider the joint meaning-making processes between children and adults when children are invited to share their perspectives on experiences and in which photography is used as an intersubjective medium. Armed with digital cameras during outings into local landscapes, a group of four children attending home-based education was invited to capture sights of significance to them and their families. The perspectives of these children, based on what they saw during nature-based learning experiences, were captured through stimulated recall interviews with their Educator. Children's insights are described in their own words, using photographs as a source of provocation. The findings highlight the symbolic, metaphoric, spiritual and relational nature of children's interpretations when provoked by encounters with nature. These interpretations can present adults with significant challenge in their assumptions about children's capacity to theorise about complex concepts and that adults share the same visual lens as children.
Subject Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori)
Keyword(s) Visual surplus
Visual ethnography
Aesthetic
Bakhtin
Nature-based learning experiences
Child stimulated recall interviews
DOI - identifier 10.1007/s13158-014-0118- 5
Copyright notice © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014
ISSN 1878-4658
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