Supporting Concordant Intersubjectivity and Sense of ‘Belonging’ for Under Three-Year-Olds in Early Years Settings

  • Helen MarwickEmail author
Part of the Policy and Pedagogy with Under-three Year Olds: Cross-disciplinary Insights and Innovations book series (Policy pedagogy under-three year olds)


Through concordant intersubjective interactions, in which mutual consciousness is supported in positive companionship (Minnis H, Marwick H, Arthur J, McLaughlin A. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 15(6):336–342, 2006; Trevarthen C. The concept and foundations of infant intersubjectivity. In: Braten S (eds) Intersubjective communication and emotion in early ontogeny. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 15–46, 1998; Trevarthen C. Infant Child Dev 20(1): 119–135, 2011), across the first months and years, infants and young children develop their understanding of themselves and other people. Familiar shared experiences, playful interactions, and co-creation of meanings develop their growing understanding of emotionality and intentionality in themselves and others, and their expectations about other people’s acts and feelings (Marwick H, Murray L. The effects of maternal depression on the ‘musicality’ of infant directed speech and conversational engagement. In: Malloch S, Trevarthen C (eds) Communicative musicality: narratives of expressive gesture and being human. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 281–300, 2008), and lead to a growing sense of self-identity in relation to others, which brings with it a reliable sense of ‘belonging’, or ‘awareness of a collective level of knowing’, and meaning within their interpersonal world (Gratier M, Trevarthen C. J Conscious Stud 15(10–11): 122–158, 2008). This positive confidence in understanding of self and other can become vulnerable in the transition into, and experience of, the group environment of an early years setting, in which existing expectations, perspectives and intentions of the participants may contrast and vary, and lead to discordant intersubjective experience of communication and shared understandings for a child (Marwick H, Murray L. The effects of maternal depression on the ‘musicality’ of infant directed speech and conversational engagement. In: Malloch S, Trevarthen C (eds) Communicative musicality: narratives of expressive gesture and being human. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 281–300, 2008). This chapter examines the challenges inherent in supporting concordant intersubjectivity and a sense of ‘belonging’ for under –3-year-olds in group based infant and toddler settings, and models of pedagogy and interaction applied in such settings.


Joint Attention Pretend Play Symbolic Play Interpersonal Experience Positive Developmental Outcome 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowScotland

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