Encounters with Materials in Early Childhood Education rearticulates understandings of materials—blocks of clay, sheets of paper, brushes and paints—to formulate what happens when we think with materials and apply them to early childhood development and classrooms. The book develops ways of thinking about materials that are more sustainable and insightful than what most children in the Western world experience today through capitalist narratives.
Through a series of ethnographic events and engagement with existing ideas of relationality in the visual arts, feminist ethics, science studies, philosophy, and anthropology, Encounters with Materials in Early Childhood Education highlights how materials can be conceptualized as active participants in early childhood education and generators of human insight. A variety of examples show how educators, young children, and researchers have engaged in thinking with materials in early years classrooms and explore what materials are capable of in their encounters with other materials and with children.
Please visit the companion website at www.encounterswithmaterials.com for additional features, including interviews with the authors and the teachers featured in the book, videos and photographs of the classroom narratives described in these pages, and an ongoing blog of the authors’ ethnographic notes.
List of Figures
Chapter 1. Thinking With Materials
Eventful Material Relations
Materials in Early Childhood
The "Material Encounters in Early Childhood Education" Project
Inquiring into materiality
The arts as mode of inquiry
Encounters With Materials and the Reggio Emilia projects
Inviting conversations through images
Diffraction as a Mode of Inquiry
Diffracting with concepts
This Book’s Entanglements with Paper, Charcoal, Paint, Clay, and Blocks
Chapter 2. Paper: Movement
The Movements of Making
Caught in the Currents
Paper in its Final Move
Chapter 3. Charcoal: Encounter
Chapter 4. Paint: Assemblage
Blending and Bleeding
Chapter 5. Clay: Ecologies
Clay in the atrium studio
Clay in the forest
Clay at the river
Meso and Ethoecology
Fostering and Nourishing
Ecologies of Practice
Chapter 6. Blocks: Time
The Weight of Time
Playing with Time
Time as Lived
Time as Intensity
"Through vivid vignettes and extensive theoretical grounding, readers are challenged to reconsider taken-for-granted assumptions about the role of materials in the early childhood classroom. This groundbreaking, deeply layered book will remain important to me as I revisit and reflect on its ideas, and I highly recommend it as a must-read for educators in the disciplines of both art education and early childhood education."
--Pat Tarr, PhD, retired art and early childhood educator, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada
"'What if…?' This essential question propels this open-ended exploration of the ways that young children and responsive materials interact in early childhood classrooms. The authors invite us to ponder with them, to notice, to question, in ways that move us beyond the conventions and constraints of traditional practices and provisions for young children. Sometimes startling, always provocative, this text rewards careful and considerate reading, as it reminds us how often we tend to structure even the most 'unstructured' aspects of early childhood curriculum, prohibiting truly productive encounters between children and the 'stuff' that offers unknown possibilities."
--Christine Marmé Thompson, Professor of Art Education, Pennsylvania State University, USA