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Pre-school children s experience of place

Trees, Sue (2007) Pre-school children s experience of place. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The experience of place has been the subject of attention by researchers from a variety of disciplines. However, despite a growing interest in the geographies of children there have been very few empirical studies investigating pre-school children’s experience of place. To address this issue, this thesis seeks to gather understandings of this phenomenon that may inform educational research. This study investigates the individual experiences of place of 12 pre-school children in 3 locations - Durham City, England; Drumlithie a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and Fraserburgh a town also in Aberdeenshire. The empirical work is set within an interpretive approach that is sensitive to the competencies of the children and which is in line with the author's philosophical assumptions. The strategies employed to generate data include an affective activity, research conversations, walking expeditions with cameras, semi-structured interviews and artwork. The theoretical framework for this research is based on an extensive inter-disciplinary review of the literature and is informed by ecological and developmental psychology theories and recent concepts of childhood. It assumes a holistic approach to understanding the complex, multifaceted concept of place as experienced by pre-school children who are themselves viewed as active learners and experts in their own lives. The analysis suggests that the pre-school children in this research experience place on highly personal and individual bases. It appears that the children employ the strategy of breaking a place down into component parts and use these components to structure their understandings. A tentative model is devised to show the workings of this process. The implications of the findings are discussed in relation to current understandings of pre-school children's learning, and suggestions are made for further research.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:31

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