Looking and Listening for Participatory Practice in an English Day Nursery
This chapter considers the importance of observant, attentive, respectful, and responsive work with babies and toddlers, especially those who spend time in group day care. It highlights the signifi cance of various positive relationships, between children and adults, arguing that these relationships encourage young children’s participation in their day nursery community and enhance their care and education. The observations of practice discussed in this chapter stem from a larger research study of case studies of practice carried out in three different early childhood settings. Illustrative examples of practice used in this chapter stem from observations of daily life in one small day nursery that was a participant centre in the research. The main aim of the chapter is to identify key ways in which early childhood practitioners enable very young children’s active, participatory learning. The title of the chapter refl ects two meanings: fi rst, the observational role of the researcher to be alert to instances of participation by looking and listening carefully; and, second, the role of the practitioners to be effective in facilitating children’s participation through careful looking and listening.