The relationship between young children’s transitions and power: ‘Why are all the doors locked? I don’t feel free … I am not in charge of me anymore'

Lynn J. McNair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasing attention to the relationships between transitions, power, spaces, and schooling, this article explores the disjuncture between seemingly liberal concepts in transition processes and hierarchical abuse of power. This ethnographic study sought to explore the perspectives of 16 children as they transitioned from one ‘early learning and childcare centre’, Lilybank, to four Scottish primary schools. Participant observations and face-to-face interviews were conducted in the formal educational settings and children’s homes. Overall, the study found that the perspectives of children can often be silenced by educational professionals or overshadowed and undermined by procedures. Children were expected to become acquiescent as they adjusted to coercive practices that limited children’s access to spaces in the school. The results suggest a need for a commitment to listening approaches, which may encourage educationalists to become respectful and responsive to children’s transition discourses and subsequent social realities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChildren's Geographies
Early online date12 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • early childhood
  • educational transitions
  • power
  • children’s geography
  • ethnography

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