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Recognising and supporting children under three as problem solvers.

Wailling, Kim (2012) Recognising and supporting children under three as problem solvers. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This study provides evidence showing the ability of ten children under three years of age to solve problems in managing their worlds. It analyses a series of observations made over a ten-month period of these children 'at work' in their nurseries. The analysis is set against current research and takes account of the support provided to the children by their key person - the adult who acts as their main carer in the nursery setting. The study details the rationale for using nurseries as a research location; it proposes a working definition of 'problem solving'; it describes the ethical framework used in governing the conduct and use of the observations, and the analytical framework to which the observations are subjected. The study shows that the use and development of the children's problem solving capability in their nurseries is influenced by organisational factors and that adult support is emotional as well as practical. It also raises several issues: practitioners' perceptions of constraints placed by the current Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, over-reliance on some support methods to the exclusion of others, attitudes to risk taking, acknowledging children's ownership of their problems and the use of failure as well as success to support their learning. The study highlights several areas worthy of further research, including the use of treasure baskets to develop problem solving skills, recognition of children's preferred patterns of thinking and an examination of what some practitioners involved in the study termed 'intuitive support'. Arising from this study is the question 'so, what happens next?' I suggest that more discussion is required in early years settings about the use of problem solving as a vehicle for very young's children's learning. Furthermore, practitioners' roles in developing children's cognitive skills and supporting their emotional needs must be part of this discussion.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.575470
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2016 15:11
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2016 15:11
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14594

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