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Can Early Years’ Practitioners Facilitate Social Development During Conflicts Between Young Children?

Watson, Nicola (2017) Can Early Years’ Practitioners Facilitate Social Development During Conflicts Between Young Children? NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 21 (1). pp. 17-34. ISSN 2537-7191

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Abstract

This small-scale case study concerned the role of early years’ practitioners in managing conflict events between peers aged three to five in an early childhood setting in England. The setting is located in an area with a higher than average socio-economic status. The cohort which comprised the subject of the study reflected diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. All children were culturally European and one child was bilingual. The study aimed to identify pedagogy which optimised children’s agency, thereby potentially, supporting the development of skills in the social domain. Accordingly, the focus of the study was on conflict management rather than its resolution. The pedagogical approach at the setting was informed by a social constructivist perspective and strategies drawn from alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices typical of adult mediation services. The practitioner researcher’s professional background included both early years’ practice and ADR with adults. A principle of mediation is that the parties in conflict own and manage the process themselves whilst a mediator facilitates by optimising communication and managing power imbalances rather than directing or imposing judgment. Findings indicated that where practitioners used mediation strategies, (including non-intervention), children rehearsed social skills. In the majority of conflict events, children were able to manage their conflicts without adult support. In every conflict event where adult support was given, children rehearsed social skills.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: social competence, conflict management, mediation strategies, cessation strategies, optimal intervention
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Education
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Depositing User: Nicola Watson
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2017 14:13
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2017 14:22
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/6030

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