Reference : A Child’s Dropout and a Nursery’s Secondary Adjustment. Linking Longitudinal, Organiz...
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Anthropology
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
A Child’s Dropout and a Nursery’s Secondary Adjustment. Linking Longitudinal, Organizational, and Institutional Ethnography in ECEC
Schnoor, Oliver []
Seele, Claudia mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) >]
(Doing) Ethnography in Early Childhood Education and Care
April 14-15, 2011
University of Luxembourg
[en] ethnography ; early childhood education and care ; institutionalisation ; organisational theory
[en] Longitudinal ethnography in the context of ECEC has been promoted by Corsaro and Molinari (2000, p. 180) by arguing that “the whole time children are developing individually, the collective processes that they are a part of are also changing.” Drawing on organizational theory and institutional ethnography, we would like to build on and extend this argument by saying that local cultures and participatory networks in Early Childhood Education and Care are embedded in organizational processes and routines that are also changing. Thus, a central assumption of our accompanying research project in a recently established Luxembourgish Maison Relais pour Enfants (MRE) is that the institutional structure of the daycare center is not settled once and for all, but develops and changes in interaction with its environment, that is with the expectations and demands of relevant stakeholders.
Accordingly, our concern in the present paper is with a basic question in current ethnographic research on ECEC, i.e. the question of the relationships, possibly the systematic linkage, between pedagogical institution and the everyday social experiences of children. Usually, this relation is conceptualized in one direction: The organized care for a high number of children in a context governed by adult rules and pedagogical interventions provides the ‘framework’ for the development of a distinctive peer culture. This, in turn, enables learning and socialization insofar as the cultural and organizational environment is “interpretively (re) produced” (Corsaro) within the context of the peer culture, which thus actively contributes to social reproduction and change. Our paper aims at contributing to this research field by following the reverse, complementary direction: It explores the processes through which the concrete social experiences of children, their embeddedness in specific social contexts, and their learning progresses are observed and interpreted, and finally lead to a (re)construction and change of institutional practices in the pedagogical organization.
Although institutionalization in early childcare centers is a continuing and never completed process of enacting institutionalized values and principles in everyday practices (Honig 2003), there may be particular temporal conditions which favor the observability of institutionalization processes. These are presumably 1) during the foundation and start of work, 2) at times of intensive contact with the institutional environment or the stakeholders, respectively, and 3) times of crisis and conflict situations.
All of these conditions have been met during the course of our research, as will be illustrated by an ethnographic case study of one child that has been taken out of the center by his parents after one year of his enrolment. His seemingly lacking adaptation to the institution’s practices and collective culture triggered a serious crisis and in turn led to some dramatic changes in the center’s daily routines. As will be shown, these measures primarily serve to increase the institution’s legitimacy by adjusting to the perceived expectations of its environment.
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