chapter  6
CHILDREN’S PERSPECTIVES ON THEIR EXPERIENCES IN EARLY EDUCATION AND CHILD-CARE SETTINGS
Pages 21

Children’s entry into out-of-home educational settings such as child care or preschool often constitutes their first experience in the larger social context. They move from the relatively self-contained circle of home, family, and neighborhood to the broader world of school, with teachers, peers, and new activities, events, and expectations. Research on young children’s early school and child-care experiences has primarily focused on curricular innovations, instructional strategies, or learning outcomes, with less attention paid to children’s perspectives on school.1 How do young children come to understand the roles of peers and teachers, the rules for behavior and social interaction, and the expectations and obligations for learning? Although previous research has helped us learn about the quality of children’s experiences through assessing cognitive or social processes on a wide variety of measures, we can develop a deeper understanding of life in early childhood settings, and children’s cognitions of these experiences, by observing and asking children to share their perspectives on the daily events of school.