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The child as an acting citizen in the world

I was reading this article today and came across this quote, which is talking about the adult 'kidification' of spaces which has been and still is a reflection of the interior 'decorations' of many schools, that patronises children, and treats children as passive innocents needing to be "filled with information" (Tarr, 2001).

"He or she is not an innocent, apart from the world, to be sheltered in some nostalgic representation of the past reproduced by adults. Rather the young child is in the world as it is today, embodies the world, is acted upon by the world - but also acts on it and makes meaning from it" (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 1999: 50-51).

Photograph via The Glow.


  1. Good article. I've experienced both types of environments - the Kindy with walls covered in 'educational' posters that almost smother you - in some centres they stretch right up to the ceiling and cover windows. Filling any gaps are children's art - essentially lost in cacophony of colour/messages. On the other hand there are centres that have embraced the Reggio asthetic and have strived to bring beauty into the environment: art is showcased and minimal, no posters, lots of space and light etc.

    Yet the paradox is that both environments are created/controlled by adults. What would the space look like if we walked all this fancy talk about empowered learners, image of the child, and co-construction etc?

  2. Yes, so having an environment that allows the children to have an input or say on how the environment is arranged or looks?

  3. Absolutely. ECE sector is keen on a reconceptualised interpretation of professionalism that involves distributing power - however the argument is mainly in relation to parents/whānau and not children.

    Even with the emergence of the Reggio/Pikler/Gerber philosophies which stress the rights of the child as an individual and a active participant in their learning... but not their environment??

    It seems that letting go can be the hardest thing :) Perhaps it is teachers worried about losing their status of 'teachers'?



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