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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

Spaces in ‘Stilt Town’: Pedagogy working with young children’s experiences in their housing estate Seminar

12:00 - 13:00
17 October 2023

Event details

A seminar by Dr Penny Lawrence, Froebel College, The University of Roehampton.

This seminar celebrates interpretative participatory research. The methods were location visits by 10 three and four-year-olds to their housing estate. Their multi-modal responses were recorded in video and photographs and then used to elicit drawings and narratives with families and educators at school.

This is a Dialogical Approach to Observation (Lawrence 2019, 2021). The key findings were the importance of the network of routes around the estate, although the children’s access and movements as pedestrians were restrained.Similarly, their awareness of circumferences of spaces and changes of levels in the built environment was acute and playful, but access was compromised.

This project highlighted a pedagogy of learning in the built environment revealing children’s spatial understanding and supporting further learning and parental involvement. In addition, community visitors and decision-makers visited an exhibition of the children’s preferences and recorded impact statements about contributions to imminent redevelopment of shared spaces on the estate.

Speaker information

Dr Penny Lawrence researches children’s voices (Lawrence 2022) and their relationships with their environments. As a BBC TV producer she brought two-year-old Ned’s bicycle film to the Teletubbies based on his schematic interest in trajectories, up, down and along, and of course rotation of the wheels.

Her doctoral study included children’s responses to seriated rings and the spaces within them. She researched in Newsweek’s best schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, on ‘Dialogues with Places’, and TES School of the Year, Pen Green in Corby, on parental involvement in learning.

She now leads the master’s Early Childhood programme at The University of Roehampton.

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