Children’s agency and negotiation of space for enabling environments: the use of Tuff spots for practitioner education

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter explores a practical way of planning for enhanced provision, using Tuff spots (large, heavy duty receptacles) which support meaningful but also inclusive play experiences. Using the work of Year 2 (Level 5) students on an early years degree programme, examples are provided that demonstrate how inclusive pedagogy can be incorporated into the learning environment. Though planning provision through play can be a challenge for early years practitioners, especially when curriculum expectations, developmental milestones and appealing to children’s unique interests are taken into consideration, the enabling environment is presented as an essential component of early years pedagogy. To ensure an inclusive approach, practitioners need to think carefully about the physical environment from the perspective of the child. Children experience the physical world differently and this subjectivity is shaped by their sense of agency, their mastery of skills and motivation to take risks and experiment freely. For practitioners, this dynamic pedagogy results in unpredictable learning pathways, but also allows for a more holistic view of the child, not perceiving them simply in terms of whether they have achieved normative goals. Ideally, practitioners should have time to reflect on children’s experiences and plan robust ways they can respond through the environment. A post-structuralist perspective will be used in this chapter to consider early years learning environments as landscapes where an interplay of power and complex relationships takes place. Foucauldian theorising emphasises the need for practitioners to critically reflect and deconstruct pedagogy, thereby challenging embedded forms of inequality within the early years environment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInclusive Pedagogies for Early Childhood Education
    Subtitle of host publicationRespecting and responding to differences in learning
    EditorsCarmel Conn, Alison Murphy
    Place of PublicationOxon
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1003163206
    ISBN (Print)978-0-367-7512-3, 978-0367756130
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022


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