Consolidating Theory and Research: Childhood Studies Essay
This essay will discuss the new theories of Childhood Studies, possible benefits to teachers
and children and how it relates to New Zealand early childhood practice. Let’s begin by
looking briefly at what childhood studies entails.
Childhood studies is a relatively new field of study that seeks to move away from the outdated
theory of seeing children with a ‘social construction’ lens, where a child is a product of a
particular set of culturally specific norms, to a ‘social constructivist’ lens, which focuses on
the child as an individual and how they interact with their own environment. Not as passive
learners, but people, with agency, who contribute to their own development (Clark, R. …show more content…
Carter, S., Gao, W., Perese, L., & Stillman, S. 2010).
Teachers can no longer presume that just because a child is of a certain age or size that the
child's developmental competencies will be at the expected normal level.
From personal experience, I have a child who did not meet toileting self management at four,
but excelled in academics, and all my children were frequently mistaken for older children in
early childhood settings because of their increased height and size. This often led to
unreasonable expectation from other parents of their skill level and behavior.
So in conclusion, Childhood studies urge us to know each child as an individual, so that we
may cater to that child’s best interests and levels of competency. The best way to do this is
work on building sound reciprocal relationships with children and their families (Ministry of
Education, 1996), and by using qualitative methods of recording and presenting and
evaluating children’s learning in Early childhood settings (Ministry of Education, 2009).
Childhood studies allow us to look holistically at a child and its surroundings and work to
meet its needs within that setting, shedding typical expectations and working towards
strengthening skills and