‘Turning to notice’ a colourful perspective: (Re)presenting two-year-old children’s lived experiences of School Readiness

Ovington, Julie Ann (2020) ‘Turning to notice’ a colourful perspective: (Re)presenting two-year-old children’s lived experiences of School Readiness. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Government expansion of free early education and care to include two-year-old children in England has significantly altered the school readiness debate, posing rhetorical questions such as ‘Where is the child’s voice’ as research to date fails to attune to their lived experiences (Goody, 2012; Gibb, Jelicic and La Valle 2010). By specifically targeting this age group in educational policy, without consultation, a perspective emerges which devalues their social capacity, autonomy, and power, positioning them as by-products within a neoliberalist agenda to maintain an ideal citizen rhetoric (van Houdt, Suvarierol, and Schinkel, 2011). As a result, this thesis provides an original contribution to knowledge by breaking from dominant discourses of dualism and universalism, disrupting the status quo by creating a space for a field of enquiry which extends beyond the child, policy and ascribing voices to rethink school readiness as an issue which implicates children (Spyrou, 2017). Using a unique colourful perspective, I reposition the status of the child as equal to the adult with an energetic and vibrant agency (Bennett, 2010) extending educational research. As I decentre the child I blur the subject object divide by drawing on Deleuzo-Guattarian philosophy (1994; 1987; 1983) and articulating how all bodies and things are interrelational, integral to understanding who we are in the world and how we intra-act in the world (Hickey-Moody and Page, 2015). This thesis is a qualitative project focusing on classroom events, intra-actions, reactions, agential cuts, and cutting together-apart as children draw on more-than-human matter to present their identity, subjectivity (Barad, 2007; 2003; Frigerio et al., 2018).

Beginning with an autoethnographic approach my daughter’s voice acts as a guiding conscience, thereafter I make a ‘material turn’ (Reddington and Price, 2018, p.2) to problematize the status and perspective of the two-year-old child in early education. This illuminates the affects and sensations of school readiness, the child and the early years practitioner entangled within a ‘material-discursive knot’ (Carpentier, 2017, p.4). Employing a rhizomatic approach to conducting and analysing research I ‘turn to notice’ the colourful sensations emanating from the child’s body in communication with a productive capacity that glows (MacLure, 2013a). Drawing on multiple methods of data collection I (re)present the voices of children in raw, original and inimitable ways as I ‘produce different knowledge and produce knowledge differently’ (St. Pierre, 1997, p.175) to reconceptualize the concept of school readiness. I argue the productive colours emanating from children during intra-actions (Barad, 2007) can influence our thinking and pedagogical approach, something which I call an intra-action-reaction. Our reaction to the intra-action has the potential to liberate early years practice for the child and practitioner from the political agenda which drives an outcome over process approach. It does this by positioning early education as a reciprocal development, challenging politicised education, and classroom environments.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Deleuze and Guattari, New Materialism and Post Human, Voice, Agency, Affect
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2021 08:11
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2022 11:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/45404

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