PLAYGROUNDS GOING WRONG: STUDY OF THE ADULT STYLE AND CHILDREN'S RIGHTS DURING RECESS IN AN EARLY CHILDHOOD AND PRIMARY EDUCATION CENTER
1 School of Education and CI&DETS, Polytechnic of Viseu (PORTUGAL)
2 School of Education, Polytechnic of Viseu (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Recent perspectives on Pedagogy for Early Chilhood Education emphasize children's participation ((Rinaldi, 2004; Vasconcelos, 2009; Oliveira-Formosinho, 2004; Oliveira-Formosinho & Formosinho, 2011; Figueiredo, 2013) in line with the Children's Rights Convention (United Nations, 1989). How the right to "freely express their views on issues that concern them and to have that view taken into account" is substantiated in teaching practices is still a challenge (Tomás, 2007; Agostinho, 2010), even when acknowledged as a pedagogical principle in the curriculum guidelines (Ministério da Educação, 1997). It is not only important to look at the teaching but at the whole experience of being in the school as a educational institution. Several authors highlight that the daily interactions of adults with children are crucial to the implementation of children's rights (Maleš & Gunc, 2009; Portugal & Laevers, 2010) and to their well-being and learning. During the day, children interact with teachers but also with teaching assistants that are responsible for several parts of their daily experience, mainly meals, hygiene and recess.
The study aimed to analyse how children's rights are dealt with during recess in a school (Early Childhood and Primary Education) in Portugal. The aims were: to characterize the style of the adult (teaching assistants) and the interactions that are established with the children at the playground/recess, and analyse them in terms of children's rights. The qualitative approach was based on the observation during the recess for three weeks. The Adult Style Observation Schedule for Early Childhood Education (ASOS-ECE) (Laevers, 1994) was used to register and code the dynamics of six teaching assistants (3 ECE and 3 PE). Critical incidents were also registered. Statistical analysis of the ASOS-ECE levels were complemented with the content analysis of the notes.
The playground space was quite limited and affected children's play and well-being. The outdoor playground was never used for the Early Childhood classes, only for Primary Education students but with little supervision. Children were often deprived of playground time by decision of the teaching assistants, as punishment. The results obtained through the Adult Style Observation Schedule for Early Childhood Education (ASOS-ECE) are not satisfactory and are below what would meet the minimum quality value (3,5). For Early Childhood Education, sensibility is the most valued dimension but with very low levels (<2,5). For Primary Education it was autonomy that scored highest (<2,5). The analysis of the notes/critical incidents highlighted articles 12 (expression of own views), 13 (freedom of expression), 19 (protection against violence), 29 (development of personality) and 31 (rest and leisure, play and recreational activities) as being put into question by actions of the adults responsible for the children.
If pedagogy is constituted by "informed interpretations of learners, knowledge and environments in order to manipulate environments in ways that help learners make sense of the knowledge available to them. It is an intense, complex and discursive act, which demands considerable expertise" (Edwards, 2001), children's rights and well-being have to be put forward in the knowledge base for all adults working with children. After the study,the authors developed workshops for the teaching assistants of the study in terms of Children's Rights and Outdoor Education.
Keywords: Early childhood education, primary education, children's rights, adult style, playground.