An exploration into the child's sense of agency, and place within modern society, age birth to five

Jenner, Victoria (2015) An exploration into the child's sense of agency, and place within modern society, age birth to five. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The idea of a child's agency being paramount to their holistic development is not one which has always been adopted by society, nor the early years community. As the perception of the child and 'childhood' has changed, so have the discussions around agency and perceptions of it's benefits. This discussion examines the function of agency for children's early development. In order to do so, the place and perception of the child must be explored through their eyes. For young children, this means the everyday experiences and interactions which feed their internal working mechanisms, and influence their perceptions of their ability to use agency meaningfully. These everyday experiences are examined within the realms of the child's ecosystem, including their home, wider community, and early years setting. As curators of these environments, the role of adults is considered for both their indirect and intentional influence over children's opportunities to practice agency.
    The influences of the society within which children mature can affect everyday life – through television screens, the marketing of toys, and the promotion of societal norms. There is much debate as to whether these mediums can empower children, and whether 'children's culture' gives them a platform from which to be heard, or is merely a consumerist opportunity for adults to dictate their pastimes and beliefs. In relation to young children's agency, the difference between these two arguments can be to develop creativity and independent thought, or to conform. The results of being able to play creatively and take appropriate risks from an early age shall be analysed with particular regard to the potential benefits when children later develop both agency and communion in the early years setting.
    By analysing a range of literature and differing theories surrounding children's agency, this dissertation aims to highlight the key developmental benefits of promoting agency, and to promote adults' understanding and positive perceptions of agency.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Education and Childhood Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2015 14:53
    Last Modified: 16 Jul 2015 14:53

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