Social Constructions of Young Children in ‘Special’, ‘Inclusive’ and Home Environments

Nind, Melanie; Flewitt, Rosie and Payler, Jane (2011). Social Constructions of Young Children in ‘Special’, ‘Inclusive’ and Home Environments. Children & Society, 25(5) pp. 359–370.




The paper tells of the social constructs surrounding young children with learning difficulties in their home, ‘special’ early education setting and ‘inclusive’ or mainstream early education setting in England. The exploratory study focused on how three- to four-year-old children made sense of their environments and how their identities were constructed by different parties in the different contexts. Ethnographic case studies were conducted using semi-structured and informal interviews with parents and practitioners, documentary analysis, fieldnotes, and live and video observations. Shared constructions across the contexts for each child were common, with constructions of them being happy and making progress pervasive across the children and settings. Differences in constructions across settings indicated that qualities could shine or negative constructions be tempered, thus showing the role of the environment and the culture of inclusion in socially constructing children with special needs.

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