Author

Debbie Ryder

Date of Submission

1-7-2019

Abstract

With an increasing number of children attending early childhood education (ECE) settings full-time due to parent work commitments, the question of who is responsible for children’s physical activity is crucial. This thesis raises the concern that, as the responsibility for young children’s care shifts from the home to being shared between the home and the ECE settings, who is responsible for ensuring children are involved in regularly physical activity. What if parents are reliant on the ECE setting to provide their children’s physical activity experiences, yet the ECE setting believes physical activity occurs regularly in the home setting. Who is providing physical activity for young children? Hence, this thesis explores physical activity understanding, practice and opportunities between the home and ECE settings. This thesis uses the notion of contradictions as a framework to describe contradictions and tensions in physical activity understanding, practice and opportunity that are evident between the home and the ECE activity system. Contradictions are positioned within activity theory (Leont'ev, 1978; Engeström, 1987) as the basis for theoretical analysis. In this thesis, the home and ECE settings are viewed as the unit of analysis in which contradictions are identified. The research demonstrates that parents and teachers in this study do not hold the same understanding as each other in terms of what physical activity looks like in the ‘other’ setting. This thesis found minimal evidence of physical activity ECE assessment documentation occurring between the home and ECE settings. It is argued that lack of assessment documentation of children’s physical activity can lead to contradictions in understanding, practice and opportunities between the home and the ECE settings. Added to this, the study found that if parents or teachers are not aware of these contradictions in physical activity understanding, practice and opportunities, they could become institutionalised between the home and the ECE settings. In a period when increased obesity and sedentary activity due to screen use is rising worldwide amongst children, the advance in knowledge this thesis provides will add to the current limited research exploring physical activity between the home and the ECE settings. By drawing on expansive learning theory (Engeström, 2001; Engeström and Sannino, 2011), this thesis goes one step further than identifying and analysing contradictions and provides a tool for innovation and change. A physical activity expansive learning framework is introduced as an intervention review process that teachers can use to evaluate current physical activity understanding, practice and opportunities between the home and ECE settings. Within the physical activity expansive learning framework, assessment documentation practices are explored as an opportunity for increasing physical activity communication between the home and ECE settings. The physical activity expansive learning framework provides the potential for development and transformation of physical activity between the home and ECE settings. It is suggested that if ECE teachers use the physical activity expansive learning framework as a regular review tool, it has the potential to increase young children’s level of engagement in enriched physical activity experiences between the home and ECE settings.

School/Institute

Learning Sciences Institute Australia

Document Type

Thesis

Access Rights

Open Access

Extent

251 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

Included in

Kinesiology Commons

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