Learning to listen to children’s voices

Flewitt, R.S. (2003). Learning to listen to children’s voices. Primary Practice, The National Primary Trust(33) pp. 9–16.


This article presents preliminary findings of an ESRC-funded PhD study, which investigates how 3-year-old children communicate their understandings to others during their first year in preschool. Drawing on ethnographic, video case studies of four children, the paper reveals how the children make and express meanings using a range of different communicative strategies, such as body movement, gaze, facial expression, the manipulation of objects and talk. The data illustrate how, over time, the children use these strategies differently in the two distinct settings of home and preschool. The article concludes by discussing what young children appear to be learning about uses of talk in the new environment of preschool and raises questions about their developing identities as pupils.

This article is written primarily for practitioners working in early years and primary settings.

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