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Title: At home with the future: influences on young children’s early experiences with digital technologies
Author(s): McPake, Joanna
Plowman, Lydia
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Editor(s): Yelland, Nicola
Citation: McPake J & Plowman L (2010) At home with the future: influences on young children’s early experiences with digital technologies. In: Yelland Nicola (ed.). Contemporary Perspectives on Early Childhood Education, Maidenhead: Open University Press, pp. 210-226.
Keywords: children
Issue Date: Mar-2010
Abstract: Early years curricula encourage practitioners to build on children’s home experiences. Research into the kinds of activities which young children engage in at home and considerations of how to link these to their experiences in pre-school settings can therefore make an important contribution to practice. However, educational researchers used to working in formal learning environments need to review many of their assumptions: for example, notions of ‘learning’ in contexts where this is not necessarily the ultimate goal of all activity and interaction; or the ways in which relationships between children and adults are constructed in a family environment. This chapter, which draws on a series of studies investigating young children’s home experiences with technologies, focuses on the significance of Cole’s conceptualisation of prolepsis, a key influence on parents’ interactions with their children deriving from the projection of their memories of their own idealised past into the children’s futures (Cole, 1996). We argue that prolepsis has powerful explanatory force for understanding the kinds of decisions parents make about appropriate or undesirable activities: for example, the extent to which children are allowed or encouraged to engage in technological play. This feature of children’s home experiences is likely to have considerable impact on children’s approaches to learning, in the early years and beyond. Parents’ assumptions, values and expectations are influenced by their past experiences, enacted in the present, and are then carried by their children into the future as they move from home to formal education.
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