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Early years curriculum: funds of knowledge as a conceptual framework for children's interests

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Children's interests are frequently cited as a source of early-years curricula. Yet, research has rarely considered the nature of these interests beyond the play-based environment of early-childhood education. This paper reports findings from a qualitative, interpretivist study in two early childhood settings in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Using participant observation, interviews, and documentation, the study examined children's interests and teachers' engagement with these in curriculum interactions. Evidence suggested children's interests were stimulated by their 'intent participation' in family and community experiences and encapsulated in the notion of 'funds of knowledge'. The concept of funds of knowledge provides a coherent analytic framework for teachers to recognize children's interests and extend teachers' curriculum planning focus beyond that of a child-centred play-based learning environment.

Keywords: children's interests; early-childhood education; early-years curriculum; funds of knowledge

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Teaching, Learning and Development in the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, Auckland 1150, New Zealand 2: Early Years Education, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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