Listening to Children
This term I will be spending some time trying to find out what the older children think and feel about our pre-school. I will be using a number of research methods, which are particularly suitable for this age group, such as tours, cameras, role play and simple interviews.
Children lead the adult on a tour of the setting, explaining what happens in the different areas. The act of walking and directing allows children to talk freely and can demonstrate their priorities.
Cameras provide a different form of communication, which appeals to children, who are invited to take photos of things such as their favourite place. They then go on to talk about the photos and what they mean to them.
Role play using play figures can be used with children to tell their own stories about life in the pre-school. Children are invited to play with a set of play figures, which represent the children and adults at the pre-school, while they are observed.
Some children are confident enough to answer interview questions on their own, while some may prefer to be interviewed with a friend or as part of a group. As with the other methods, children will always be given the choice about whether to participate and are given the freedom to stop at any time.
The data from the different methods is then brought together and analysed, in order to evaluate the pre-school, from the perspective of the children. We can then identify potential areas for change or development within the pre-school.
The creation of our “quiet room” was one of the outcomes from the last time I carried out such research.