‘My picture is not in Wales’: pupils’ perceptions of cynefin (Belonging) in primary school curriculum development in Wales

Chapman, Susan; Ellis, Rosy; Beacuchamp, Gary; Sheriff, Lisa; Stacey, David; Waters-Davies, Jane; Lewis, Adam; Jones, Catherine; Griffiths, Merris; Chapman, Sammy; Wallis, Rachel; Sheen, Elizabeth; Crick, Tom; Lewis, Helen; French, Graham and Atherton, Stephen (2023). ‘My picture is not in Wales’: pupils’ perceptions of cynefin (Belonging) in primary school curriculum development in Wales. Education 3-13 [Early Access].

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03004279.2023.2229861

Abstract

In the new Curriculum for Wales (Cwricwlwm i Gymru) which is phasing in from September 2022, the concept of ‘cynefin’ (‘the place where we feel we belong’) is core to developing children’s understandings of place and identity. While cynefin has long been considered in a wider cultural and heritage context in Wales, it is not yet clearly understood in education, and is rarely explored from the pupil perspective. Drawing on data gathered from four primary schools in Wales (n = 67 children, aged 7–10), using the method of photo elicitation to scaffold talk, this article explores children’s understandings of what cynefin means to them. Themes of people, place, activity, and emotions/feelings emerged, which interconnected in multiple, non-linear, and unique ways, indicating the importance of nuance in primary-level curricula design.

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