Using Photographic Picture Books to Better Understand Young Children’s Ideas of Belonging: A Study of Early Literacy Strategies and Social Inclusion

  • Yiola Cleovoulou University of Toronto
  • Heather McCollam University of Toronto
  • Erica Ellis University of Toronto
  • Lauren Commeford University of Toronto
  • Isabelle Moore University of Toronto
  • Annie Chern University of Toronto
  • Janette Pelletier University of Toronto

Abstract

This study examined the ways young children (3 years 11 months to 7 years 9 months) talk about and demonstrate their understanding of social inclusion through the use of self-produced family photograph books. One hundred eighty-seven children from the Greater Toronto Area participated in the study by first sharing their personal photograph books with a small group of peers and then exploring books produced by children unknown to them. A mixed methods approach was used where children’s understanding of vocabulary was documented and small focus group discussions were
transcribed and analyzed. This article focuses on the study’s qualitative findings that children spoke about and conveyed their understanding of concepts surrounding social inclusion (inclusion, diversity, respect, acceptance, understanding) based on (1) their learning of the social inclusion vocabulary, (2) their personal
experience with social inclusion, and (3) their talk of social inclusion
in relation to social identity. These themes and their implications for early childhood education are discussed.

Author Biographies

Yiola Cleovoulou, University of Toronto
Yiola Cleovoulou, PhD, is a former elementary school teacher and now a lecturer at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Current research includes critical theory and pedagogy in the early and elementary years, teacher education, and literacy pedagogy.
Heather McCollam, University of Toronto
Graduate of the MA Program in childy study and education at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).
Erica Ellis, University of Toronto
Graduate of the MA Program in childy study and education at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).
Lauren Commeford, University of Toronto
Graduate of the MA Program in childy study and education at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).
Isabelle Moore, University of Toronto
Graduate of the MA Program in childy study and education at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).
Annie Chern, University of Toronto
Graduate of the MA Program in childy study and education at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).
Janette Pelletier, University of Toronto
Janette Pelletier, PhD, is the director of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study. Her research includes early child development and education, family literacy, and school-as-hub models for early years programs and services.
Published
2013-04-03