Children's Bodies in Early Childhood Education




Antonsen, Connie

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This project is comprised of three separate papers that emerged from my involvement in the University of Victoria’s Investigating Quality in Early Learning Environments Project in British Columbia. Using a postfoundational framework, this action research project valued reflective thought, collaboration, decision-making and action while bringing together researchers and stakeholders as subjects in experiential and deliberate exploratory participation in the investigation of educational practices. The aim of the project, originated by Drs. Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw and Alan Pence, has been to broaden and deepen discussions on quality in early childhood education at local, regional, national, and international levels. My involvement in the project spanned an 8-month internship that included collaborating with community facilitators in the province, participating in monthly learning circle discussions with educators and researchers where we shared pedagogical narrations, reading and reflection conversations with educators and other stakeholders, connecting my own thoughts of theory and practice through reflective writing, and visiting children and educators during site visits. Each paper that unfolds stands on its own but also connects with the others. I begin with a literature review that provides a glimpse of what is known about understanding children’s bodies in early childhood education. My thematic review highlights the way current empirical research questions developmental psychology’s ideas about bodies. My approach comes from postfoundational reimaginings of bodies while asking how empirical research understands children’s bodies. The second paper asks how government policy shapes children’s bodies in early childhood education by interpreting specific sections of British Columbia’s Child Care Licensing Regulations through a critical discourse analysis. I question conformity while unpacking the institutionalized practices that control bodies, and I disrupt governmental and social power structures that regulate, normalize, and discipline bodies. Finally, the third paper unpacks my own tensions when letting go of common assumptions about bodies, while asking how early childhood education might restory the image of children’s bodies. This empirical piece complexifies bodies during a particular scenario that involves risky play. The paper advocates for bodies by contesting the powers of dominant discourse and considers the ethical implications of bodily encounters, while opening space to think differently. I notice and pay deep attention to the corporeal as it explores and generates truths that bring forth creative evolution by going beyond what is possible.


Reconceptualizing children's bodies in early childhood education


Children's bodies, early childhood education, reconceptualizing early childhood education