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Cultural wellbeing and respect for diversity in early childhood education


Emery, SG and Nailon, DL, Cultural wellbeing and respect for diversity in early childhood education, Proceedings of the 69th OMEP World Assembly and International Conference, 12-24 June 2017, Opatija, Croatia, pp. 47-66. ISBN 978-953-57634-1-3 (2017) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

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Scholars argue that ecological worldviews are important for young children's emerging understandings of themselves as part of the diversity of life inhabiting the Earth (Inoue, 2014), and for supporting relationships that are integral to cultural wellbeing (Emery, Miller, West & Nailon, 2015). Early childhood educators are well placed to support cultural wellbeing within their classroom communities where diversity is valued and regarded as enrichment for such practice.

This paper presents preliminary findings from a case study of cultural wellbeing in early childhood education in Tasmania, Australia in which interviews were conducted with educators. Two broad areas of diversity in education emerged as important contributors to cultural wellbeing: cultural diversity and biological diversity (biodiversity). Educators described cultural wellbeing as belonging and connectedness to people, places (especially nature), and cultural worlds. Providing opportunities for children to encounter diversity was integral to educatorsí practices of cultivating cultural wellbeing. The research found that early childhood classroom communities were spaces where young children could engage in experiences which value diversity and support wellbeing.

The research findings will be discussed in relation to Bourdieuís concepts of cultural capital and habitus, and enabling and constraining factors for cultural wellbeing will be explored. This presentation argues that enabling student encounters with diversity creates conditions for cultural wellbeing through webs of connectedness in and beyond classroom communities. Furthermore, doing so is core to (multi-species) relationships that are foundational for a sustainable future.

Item Details

Item Type:Non Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:cultural wellbeing; cultural diversity; arts education; culturally responsive; pedagogy
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Early childhood education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teacher and instructor development
UTAS Author:Emery, SG (Dr Sherridan Emery)
UTAS Author:Nailon, DL (Ms Di Nailon)
ID Code:120526
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2017-08-28
Last Modified:2018-02-23
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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