Identity, Culture and Belonging: Educating Young Children for a Changing World
Tony Eaude argues that the foundations of a robust but flexible identity are formed in early childhood and that children live within many intersecting and sometimes conflicting cultures. He considers three meanings of culture, associated with (often implicit) values and beliefs; the arts; and spaces for growth. In exploring how young children's identities, as constructed and constantly changing narratives, are shaped, he discusses controversial, intersecting factors related to power in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, class, physical ability and age.
Eaude explores how young children learn, often tacitly, highlighting reciprocity, example, habituation and children's agency and voice. He emphasises the importance of a sense of belonging, created through trusting relationships, and inclusive environments, with adults drawing on and extending children's cultural capital and 'funds of knowledge.' Eaude shows how a holistic education requires a breadth of opportunities across and beyond the school curriculum, and highlights how play, the humanities and the arts enable children to explore how it is to be human, and to become more humane, broadening horizons and helping challenge preconceptions and stereotypes. This radical, inclusive and culturally sensitive vision, for an international audience, challenges many current assumptions about identity, culture, childhood and education.
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