chapter  5
The Politics of Primaries: The Micropolitical Perspectives of 7-Year-Olds
ByAngela Spaulding
Pages 21

Kids know stuff. If they don’t want to do something they figure out how not to do it…Some kids ask lots of questions on purpose… sometimes kids interrupt and ask and ask questions they already know …It keeps kids from having to do the things they don’t want to do. (Grade 2 students, St. Paul’s Elementary School)


Do 7-year-olds have a micropolitical understanding of their actions? Consider the following types of familiar student behavior in primary classrooms: tattling, showing affection, arguing, giving compliments, inattention, creating distractions, ignoring, asking repeated questions, interrupting, appealing to do something else, protesting, and stalling for time. We often understand these occurrences as part of what happens when working with young children. Some may see these classroom acts as simply developmentally appropriate behaviors, immature acts to avoid tasks, or egocentric behavior-social psychological explanations of why children of this age act and interact as they do. Yet is there more to it than this? Can we also understand these behaviors through a political frame?