• Editorial: Young children and art education

      Adams, Jeff; Atherton, Frances; University of Chester (Wiley, 2018-02-09)
      This special issue of iJADE is devoted to the art education of young children, and provides a timely platform for the dissemination of new research in this important area. For many young children their artistic experiences can prove to be some of the most profound and insightful of their early education. Although these creative moments are frequently integrated with a multitude of other educational experiences, nonetheless the artistic ones have a singularity, making them unique within the educational experience as a whole. It is the predominance of a visual epistemology that provides this specificity, and it hardly needs stating that knowing by means of the visual is of profound importance in our contemporary societies. The demonstration and the parole of this ‘knowing’ by young children should not be seen as peripheral, or as an adjunct to education. Fundamental to a well-informed art education are the critical expression of meaning and purpose, no matter how tentative these might appear. These practices entail a critical engagement with the languages of visual imagery, to which children readily adapt.
    • Learning and Development Schemas: On Repeat

      Atherton, Frances; University of Chester (Nursery World, 2014-01-27)
      Remarkable capabilities are divulged in the most conspicuous ways as children play. This can lead the devoted and discerning observer into a deeper understanding of the intricate nature of young children’s thinking. In what they do, the language they use and the things they make as they play, children acquaint us with important aspects of their learning and development. Through careful observation, underlying patterns in thinking can emerge as children work on their schemas. With this in mind, the imperative for adults working with young children to sustain and nurture these forms of thought becomes ever more apparent.
    • On the margins: the last place to rebel? Understanding young people’s resistance to social conformity

      Atherton, Frances; McKay, Jane; University of Chester (The Polity Press and the Univeristy of Bristol, 2017-06-28)
      Young people have for decades been the subject of repeated ‘moral panics’ (Cohen, 2002) in western society. From the troubles of the ‘teenager’ in the early post-war period; the mods and rockers of the sixties; the anarchic punk sub-culture of the seventies through to the most recent manifestation of moral panic – the NEET (not in employment, education or training), there is an apparent tension in the simultaneous empowerment and subjugation of young people that manifests through discourses of children’s rights, voice and participation, alongside competing discourses of failure, risk and problematisation. The media portrayal that fuels the moral panic of unruly and out-of-control young people presents an idea that these young people are both frightening to ordinary members of society, and each other (The Independent, 2009), and has extended to the “disruptive use of public space” by young people (Robinson, 2009, p510). In a society framed by risk and austerity-driven reduced life chances for many, anti-social behaviour and disengaged, marginalised youth is fast becoming the norm. In contrast, recent policy trajectories have foregrounded the rights of young people in all areas of policy (McKay, 2014), promoting a more hopeful view of young people as active citizens, participating in civil society, their rights supported through Article 12 of the UN Charter for the Rights of the Child [UNCRC] (UNESCO 1989). Each of these viewpoints has its own literature, its own discourse. Each considers the lives of young people as largely homogenous; seen through whatever policy lens is selected for any given social crisis. By contrast, this chapter considers the way that young people themselves understand and view their position in relation to their social environment, and offers an illustration of the complex and often unintended ways that young people are marginalised in everyday life. Marginalisation is therefore considered, not as an end-product of social dysfunction, rather it emerges as a process by which the young people themselves may negotiate their position in different social situations in order to effect autonomy and self-determination, even within the smallest and most mundane activities. Drawing on the psychological theory of Erikson (1972), we consider what Erikson refers to as the “leeway of mastery in a set of developments or circumstances” which suggested “free movement within prescribed limits” (p.691). A literal translation being space of, or space for, play; what the rules of the game allow. The concept of social play is an important feature of Erikson’s work and relates to the fifth stage of psycho-social development; adolescence. The importance of play in the early years is a well-rehearsed discussion; however, the concept of play in the transition stage from childhood to adulthood, adolescence, provokes a re-consideration of the ways that young people explore and learn about themselves and their world. We consider freedom and autonomy for the young person to follow their own particular motivations, yet within ‘prescribed limits’. The chapter explores how space is negotiated and at particular points of intersection, potential conflict is tempered to maintain the freedom which boundary spaces may offer. It considers the important role of resistance at places of intersection, where the desire to define a new liberty, a free space (Robinson, 2010) is bargained, for as she suggests, “leisure practices can…. Involve opposition, resistance and transgression” (p.508), and these are the key emerging elements of the young people’s social play that we examine.
    • Schematic pedagogy: supporting one child’s learning at home and in a group.

      Atherton, Frances; Nutbrown, Cathy; University of Chester; University of Sheffield (Taylor & Francis, 2016-02-24)
      In this paper, we identify ways in which the learning of very young children can be supported by practitioners developing a schematic pedagogy which focuses on structures of children’s thinking. First, we provide a critical overview of relevant literature on schemas and schematic approaches to pedagogy. We then outline an original study undertaken to identify and support the learning of seven young children. Taking one child, whom we call Annie, we illustrate how her attention to the fine detail of elements of her home and group environments as she played offered strong clues to her pedagogues about her persistent interests (schemas). We show how careful observation by practitioners can be used to understand and support future learning encounters through a schematic pedagogy, and we consider implications of such an approach for practice in toddlers’ early learning.
    • The Disgusted Notice the Disgusting: Being Homeless and the Sullied Schooling of the Street

      Atherton, Frances; University of Chester (Other Business Ltd, 2016-12-19)
      The brutality of life on the street is explored in this paper with a young homeless couple and the ragged community they are part of. Destitution, prostitution, drugs and crime sculpt their lives and identify them as the symbolic edge of society, the boundary of civilisation, at the cultural margins, where subsistence is in a state of decomposition. Deserving of adversity? Theirs is a bordered being which seems to inspire a remarkable fortitude. They defy their abjected state of being in a Nietzschean determination for a kind of redemption in this life. Paradoxically, however damaged and broken their lives, however pitilessly rejection is dealt, however ravaged they are by what I would describe as the education of the street; this bleak place is often suffused with tenderness and compassion, intensely enacted and understood. How these moments variously unfold, frequently in searingly public places, is offered here and affords a glimpse of a life few could endure.
    • The Philosophy of Homelessness

      Moran, Paul; Atherton, Frances; University of Chester (Christian Education, 2018-08-06)
      A Philosophy of Homelessness is, in a number of respects, a ground-breaking work. It critically analyses the, for the most part, ordinary assumptions by which most of us in the developed world appear to live our daily, ordinary lives. These ordinary assumptions include rights of ownership, and the ability through ownership to fashion one’s own living environment, for example by being able to decorate, add to and modify one’s home, and therefore to express some agency about place, belonging and being; the capacity to engage in an economic system in such a way that allows a distance, an abstraction, a dissociation of the participant, including the participant’s body, from that which is being exchanged; as well as a more general ontology that identifies and establishes the personal, the private, the condition that this - whatever this might be - being mine, again, including one’s own body, and the intimate cradle of one’s self, and thus one’s soul. Our research about homelessness, we suggest, discloses these facets of our contemporary, mundane neoliberal experience as products of an economy of being that forges our beliefs and practices about who and what we are. This critical analysis, amounting to a philosophy, is engendered from the mundane experiences of a community of chronically homeless people; a community that we have known and been part of for over three years. For example: the taken for granted experiences of shopping and belonging are discussed through the prism of heroin dealers and addicts; the process of being a couple and wanting to have a family is understood via a homeless couple’s struggle to live together and have a baby; the attempt to achieve financial independence is discussed by way of enforcers who collect drug debts for organised criminals; and themes of intimacy and privacy are explored through the lives of homeless sex-workers. Whilst the daily events of the homeless people that populate this work are arresting enough in themselves, it is their implications, their ontological and political implications, that are most shocking and telling about the brutal and parlous state of contemporary first world society, and the growing number of marginalised and dispossessed that it begets. The appeal of this powerful work therefore extends beyond an ethnographic and sociological analysis of homelessness in urban Britain; it provides a concrete opening for those interested in a radical critique, at the quotidian level of realisation, of the current global crisis of neoliberal beliefs and forms of organization. There are no other books on the market that undertake this work in this intimate, gritty, disturbing and irreverent way. By way of structure it achieves this by foregrounding in each chapter the lives of specific homeless people, which illustrate and develop the themes of being homeless.
    • Understanding Schemas and Young Children from birth to three

      Atherton, Frances; Nutbrown, Cathy; University of Chester; University of Sheffield (SAGE, 2013-04-30)
      This book explores young children's learning and development through the identification and understanding of their schemas, repeatable patterns of behavior and thought (Athey 2007).
    • Understanding schemas and young children: From birth to three

      Atherton, Frances; Nutbrown, Cathy; University of Chester (SAGE, 2013-04-30)
      This book focuses specifically on schemas and children under three. The authors trace the development of schemas from motor level through to symbolic representation, and show hot to use schema theory to understand young children's learning and behaviour.
    • Young children and art education

      Adams, Jeff; Atherton, Frances; University of Chester (Wiley, 2018-02-09)
      Editorial for a special issue of the Journal on young children and art education.