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Playing practices in school-age childcare:: An action research project in Sweden and England
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Playing is a common part of children’s leisure time, and with children spending an increasing amount of this time in school-age childcare, in both Sweden and England, staff have the responsibility to facilitate play. The way play is conceptualised by staff may lead to different aspects of play being facilitated. These play practices are enabled and constrained by the arrangements of what this dissertation calls the school’s play practice architecture, i.e. where play practices are intertwined with a school’s practice architecture. The aim of the research was to explore how staff talked about play and how to facilitate it, how concepts of play contributed to different play practices and how it might be possible to transform play practice architectures. The research draws on conversations with staff in school-age childcare settings in two Swedish and one English school during an action research project. Just as action research was used to disturb and change practice in order to understand it, concepts from Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy (1980/2004) were put to work to disturb taken-for-granted concepts of play in order to explore how play works.

Article I explores what the staff talked about in relation to play and its facilitation. The conclusion is that the ability of staff to interpret children’s play as children exploring their agency is crucial when facilitating play in a learning institution. Article II examines some discursive orders about play in school-age childcare and goes beyond them by conceptualising playing as becoming-different. The article argues that when foregrounding play, staff recognised children and themselves as becoming-players. Article III investigates how to think practice as constant change. For any practice, planning is required, and yet the unexpected keeps happening. When playing was conceptualised as a “What If? As If” approach, which allowed for potentialities to become actualised, then this approach was also useful as an approach in practice. The analysis suggests that when engaging in a playing practice, practitioners develop new knowledge and simultaneously change social situations.

The practice of playing, whether intentional or unintentional, can not only disturb but also transform play practice architectures. The practice of playing is sensitised to the disturbances caused by playing and also puts itself “in play”. This opens up for a continuous de- and reterritorialisation of play and playing in school-age childcare practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University , 2015. , 111 p.
Keyword [en]
Play, school-age childcare practice, action research, practice architecture, becoming
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120283ISBN: 978-91-7649-217-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-120283DiVA: diva2:851415
Public defence
2015-10-23, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-10-01 Created: 2015-09-04 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Making Magic Soup - The facilitation of play in school-age childcare
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Making Magic Soup - The facilitation of play in school-age childcare
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Play, ISSN 2159-4937, Vol. 2, no 1, 7-21 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores socially shared knowledge of facilitating play in a learning institution such as a school-age childcare setting (services provided for children outside school hours, often while parents are at work). Previous research makes it clear that the area of play facilitation needs further exploration. It points to a tension between children's agency in play and the constraints of the setting. The pedagogical traditions of Froebel and Dewey have been used to explore the options for action in this field of tension. Staff from four school-age childcare settings – three Swedish and one English – took part in focus groups. The transcriptions of the spoken dialogue were categorised using dialogic analysis. The paper presents samples of conversations highlighting the above tensions and analyses them in the light of the theory. The findings show that staff negotiated these tensions daily and that the developed model can be used to reflect on the intentions and approaches of a service that only partly facilitates play. The conclusion is that the ability of staff to interpret children's play as children exploring their agency is crucial when facilitating play in a learning institution.

Keyword
play, school-age childcare, dialogism, children's agency
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91062 (URN)10.1080/21594937.2013.769814 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-06-18 Created: 2013-06-18 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Becoming-player in school-age childcare
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Becoming-player in school-age childcare
2014 (English)In: Reconceptualizing Educational Research Methodology (RERM), ISSN 1892-042X, E-ISSN 1892-042X, Vol. 5, no 1, 18-31 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to explore if some of Deleuze and Guattari’s (1980/2004) concepts can contribute to our understanding of “playwork”, particularly among the school-age childcare staff required by governing documents to facilitate play in a school setting. The paper presents a reading of transcribed conversations with school-age childcare staff. We map how two staff teams described playing, and the (e)merging thoughts that surfaced during conversations. The reading challenges a dichotomous view of staff as play facilitators and children as players and we explore other possibilities for interpreting the events described by staff. It seems to us that when children and staff play, in the assemblage of the school-age childcare settings, they do schooling and playing simultaneously, overcoming the dichotomies apparent in educational policy.

Keyword
School-age childcare, play, playwork, Deleuze and Guattari
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120280 (URN)10.7577/rerm.947 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-09-04 Created: 2015-09-04 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. ‘What If? As If’: An approach to action research practice: becoming-different in school-age childcare
Open this publication in new window or tab >>‘What If? As If’: An approach to action research practice: becoming-different in school-age childcare
2015 (English)In: Educational action research, ISSN 0965-0792, E-ISSN 1747-5074, Vol. 23, no 3, 350-365 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When doing research, or for that matter working in school-age childcare, the researcher/teacher is required to develop a plan for her/his work in spite of knowing that unexpected things will happen. This article aims to explore the relationship between the process of planning and unexpected events in childcare practice and action research. The article uses transcripts of discussions from a collaborative action research project focusing on playing in school-age childcare to explore this relationship. The article attempts to go beyond dualisms to understand playing as a way to disturb existing practices. In conjunction with specified transcripts from ongoing research, this is done by folding together concepts inspired by Deleuze and Guattari such as becoming-different with concepts from play theory and action research. The article argues that there may be such a thing as a ‘What If? As If’ approach to practice, according to which collaborators are playing to change social situations and develop new knowledge. Being alert to invitations to playing allows the process of planning to continuously become-different.

Keyword
action research, Deleuze and Guattari, playing, school-age childcare
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120281 (URN)10.1080/09650792.2015.1009926 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-09-04 Created: 2015-09-04 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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