Early childhood, breakfast, and related tools: analysis of adults’ function as mediators

Abstract

This study presents the results of a systematic, 3-month-long observation of the verbal and gestural interactions which took place between a preschool teacher and six children aged between 23 and 34 months during breakfast at Emmi Pikler preschool in Budapest. The aim was to analyze access to the conventional use of everyday tools during this activity. The complementary nature of the lag sequential analysis and polar coordinate analysis techniques enabled an in-depth exploration of how the adult–object–child triad evolved and varied in each case. The results revealed that the gradual introduction of tools and adaptation to each child’s individual differences, in accordance with their specific level of autonomy, helped children regulate their conduct toward increasingly socialized mealtime behaviors.

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Acknowledgements

The third author gratefully acknowledge the support of a Spanish government subproject Integration ways between qualitative and quantitative data, multiple case development, and synthesis review as main axis for an innovative future in physical activity and sports research [PGC2018-098742-B-C31] (2019-2021) (Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, Programa Estatal de Generación de Conocimiento y Fortalecimiento Científico y Tecnológico del Sistema I+D+i), that is part of the coordinated project New approach of research in physical activity and sport from mixed methods perspective (NARPAS_MM) [SPGC201800X098742CV0]. In addition, she thanks the support of the Generalitat de Catalunya Research Group, GRUP DE RECERCA I INNOVACIÓ EN DISSENYS (GRID). Tecnología i aplicació multimedia i digital als dissenys observacionals [Grant number 2017 SGR 1405].

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Correspondence to Haizea Belza.

Ethics declarations

The research project was approved by the ethics committee at the authors’ university, as well as by the management team of the participating preschool. The teacher’s informed consent was obtained.

Additional information

Haizea Belza. Department of Developmental Psychology and Education, University of the Basque Country (Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea-Universidad del País Vasco). E-mail: haizeabf@gmail.com

Current themes of research:

Haizea Belza is a doctoral student enrolled in the Psychodidactic: Psychology of Education program of the University of the Basque Country.Currently, she is a lecturer, at the same university, in the department of Methodology of the Behavioural Sciences (Faculty of Psychology).

Most Relevant Publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Belza, H., Herrán, E. & Anguera, M.T. (2019). Early childhood education and cultural learning: Systematic observation of the behavior of Pikler´s caregiver during breakfast. Infancia y Aprendizaje, 42(1), 128-178. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02103702.2018.1553268. International Journal of Educational Psychology, 6(2), 148-182.

Elena Herrán. Department of Developmental Psychology and Education, University of the Basque Country (Euskal HerrikoUnibertsitatea-Universidad del País Vasco) Escuela Universitaria de Magisterio. E-mail: anna.tapola@helsinki.fi

Current themes of research:

Elena Herrán has a degree in Clinical Psychology and a PhD in Educational Sciences, specializing in Psychology. She is a professor in the department of Developmental Psychology and Education of the College of Education at the University of the Basque Country. Her research activity has focused on early childhood development, psychomotor development and teacher training. Current research areas: Early Childhood Education and Care.

Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Herrán, E. (2007). Jumping at the age of three in psychomotor education: Observing child psychomotor behaviour [El salto a los tres años en psicomotricidad: observación del comportamiento psicomotor infantil]. Infancia y Aprendizaje, 30(2), 183-196. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1174/021037007780705238. Observe the Movement: Construction of the Field Format "Jumping in Psychomotor Education during the Third Year of Life”. Revista de Psicodidáctica, 13(2), 33-43.

Herrán, E., Orejudo, S., Martínez de Morentin, J. I., & Ordeñana, B. (2014). Actitudes docentes y autonomía en Educación Infantil 0-2: Un estudio exploratorio en la Comunidad Autónoma del País Vasco (CAPV). Revista de Educación, 365, 150-176.

Herrán, E. (2018). Claves de la educación Pikler-Loczy: Compilación de 20 artículos escritos por sus creadoras. Budapest: Asociación Pikler-Loczy de HungríaInternational Journal of Educational Psychology, 6,148–182.

M. Teresa Anguera. Department of Social Psychology and Quantitative Psychology, Faculty of the Psychology, Institute of Neurosciences University of Barcelona. E-mail: tanguera@ub.edu

Current themes of research:

M.Teresa Anguera is a professor in the Department of Methodology of the Behavioural Sciences (Faculty of Psychology) at the University of Barcelona. She has taught at all levels and on a wide variety of methodological subjects, and currently teaches the courses on Observational Methodology and Observation in Schools. Her research activity has always focused on two lines of work: observational methodology and programme evaluation designs. Current research areas: Direct and indirect observation, Mixed-Methods.

Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Anguera, M. T. (2003). Observational methods (general). In R. Fernández-Ballesteros (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Psychological Assessment, vol. 2 (pp. 632–637). London: Sage,

Santoyo, C. Jonsson, G.K., Anguera, M.T. & López-López, J.A. (2017). Observational analysis of the organization of on-task behavior in the classroom using complementary data analysis. Anales de Psicología, 33(3), 497-514..

Escolano-Perez, E., Herrero-Nivela, M.L., Blanco-Villasenor, A., & Anguera, M.T. (2017). Systematic observation: Relevance of this approach in preschool executive function assessment and association with later academic skills. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 2031. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36, 82-100.

Garcia-Farina, A., Jimenez-Jimenez, F., & Anguera, M.T. (2018). Observation of communication by physical education teachers: Detecting patterns in verbal behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:334. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00334

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The third author is a participant in the following research projects run by the Spanish Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness: (1) Physical and sporting activity as a means of fostering a healthy lifestyle: Evaluation of sporting behavior using non-intrusive methodologies [Project number DEP2015-66069-P, MINECO/FEDER, UE]; (2) Methodological and technological progress in the observational study of sporting behavior [PSI2015-71947-REDP, MINECO/FEDER, UE]. She is also a member of the Catalonia Regional Government Research Group: GRUP DE RECERCA I INNOVACIÓ EN DISSENYS (GRID). Tecnología i aplicació multimedia i digital als dissenys observacionals [code: 2014 SGR 971].

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Belza, H., Herrán, E. & Anguera, M.T. Early childhood, breakfast, and related tools: analysis of adults’ function as mediators. Eur J Psychol Educ 35, 495–527 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-019-00438-4

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Keywords

  • Early childhood education
  • Mealtime
  • Uses of tools
  • Systematic observation
  • Lag sequential analysis
  • Polar coordinate analysis