BA(Hons)(UNSW), DipEd(UNSW), MEd(UNSW)
Phone: +61 2 90367 214
Fax: +61 2 9351 5027
Research project description
Keywords: childcare, learner identity formation, agency, schooling, preadolescent, network, transition
The research investigates the experiences of preadolescents in School Age Care contexts (popularly known as After-School Care) in New South Wales, Australia. The study finds children primarily form identities by exploring and pursuing their interests. They need adults to facilitate this process because they lack the experience, resources and status to do so themselves. It is the adult–child care relationship that conditions the efficiency and effectiveness of children’s aspirations.
The core concern of the study is the learner identity formation by children in their approach to high school transition. The study responds to two current social concerns: the paucity of care services for school-age children, and the early dropout of school-age children. It is proposed that children’s potential depends on their capacity to build resilient learner identities through the support founded in generational networks.
This study makes use of multiple cases of children’s out-of-school experiences. They are taken from six different kinds of School Age Care in Greater Sydney, NSW. Grounded-Theory analysis is applied to data and information sourced from multiple methods including drawings, group interactions and face-to-face conversations. Based on the self-reports of children, the study considers barriers inhibiting children’s learner identity formation. Scholarly discourse, media, reports and interviews with adult leaders at each field site provide commentary. An argument is made for partnering across children’s networks at the interface between schools and the worlds children inhabit outside of school. Children are theoretically conceived as being invested in the process of their own skill-building so as to become agents for their own best interests. It is the adult–child care relationship that facilitates this process.
It is argued that School Age Care, at the interface between school and home, has the potential to mediate between the various discontinuities found among the different contexts of childhood. This is specially so in the approach to the transition to high school.
Existing and new School Age Care policy is reviewed in order to recommend practical approaches to adult-child care relationship building and program-planning. These include the recommendation of new tools to generate data and information about the engagement of children in various activities. A new methodology is modelled for building program-planning skills in School Age Care settings collaboratively with children.
These tools and methodologies respond to the vision of policy directions initiated at the care ‘coalface’ since January 2012. They are intended to generate both ‘lag’ and ‘lead’ guidance for the development of professional standards and for enriching the benefits to children in out-of-school contexts.
|OOSH education and transition to high school||PhD||Dr Jennifer Way|