Print version ISSN 0103-6564
RUTANEN, Niina. Two-year-old children as co-constructors of culture. Psicol. USP [online]. 2009, vol.20, n.3, pp. 375-387. ISSN 0103-6564. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-65642009000300005.
How is culture coconstructed in the micro-level of everyday interactions in a day care center? What is the “culture” being constructed, who are the constructors and how? This paper is based on a case study of interaction among two-year-old children. For the study, video recordings were made twice a month during a period of seven months in a day care centre in Finland. In the recording sessions, the children were provided some objects to play with. Four sessions were selected for qualitative analysis. During the first session, the children produced a counter-culture to the teacher’s attempts to structure the situation. Gestures, postures, and verbalizations among the children emerged from initially random movements. The meaning and the functions of these postures, movements and sounds changed during the flow of actions. Some of the movements and verbalizations were re-established again and elaborated further in the following recording sessions. The constraints for actions were continuously negotiated nonverbally and verbally among the children and the adults. The wider institutional culture of early childhood education wasn’t a passive frame somewhere outside the flow of actions, but it gained concreteness in the here-and-now situations. The adults’ expectations and intentions were materialized in the initiations and in the arrangements of the setting and canalized the children’s possibilities for actions. From this basis, the children co-constructed novel movements and meanings outside the adults’ sphere of expectation.
Keywords : Child-child interaction; Children; Co-construction of culture; Day care.