Do You See What I See? Family-Produced Photographs and the Transition to School
Through the use of photo-elicitation, this study explored the family perspective of the transition to kindergarten in lower-income households. Much research in this area brings a deficit-based approach to describing the families from lower-income backgrounds and their presumed lack of involvement in children’s early learning (Dockett & Perry, in Int J Early Years Educ 21(2):163–177, 2013). Countering that mainstream narrative, I desired to take a strengths-based approach to studying the variable ways in which lower-income families support this important school transition (Zigler & Bishop-Josef in Play = learning: how play motivates and enhances children’s cognitive and social-emotional growth. Oxford University Press, pp 15–35, 2006). Eight families from a larger study on the transition to school volunteered to participate in this photography project. Taking the ‘auto-driven’ approach (Clark-Ibanez, in Am Behav Sci 47:1507–1527, 2004), parents were in charge of capturing visual images of activities involving their children over the course of a week. Participants were then asked to explain how the images were connected to a child’s development or preparedness for school during a photo-elicitation interview. The study confirms that parents are the knowledgeable source when it comes to the lives of children and the transition to school. The photo-elicitation process empowered families to reveal family rituals and routines through visual images and interviews. The transition to school is just one of many social issues that may be addressed through visual imagery. This chapter describes the process of including participant-produced photographs in a study and how the findings bring insight to children’s early learning, while empowering families.
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