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Friday, September 11, 2015


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My understanding of agency differs from yours...not that you advocate anything I disapprove of...but I would use other words for that.

Agency as I have come to understand it has to do with the self-talk (or self-think) that allows one to keep trying to accomplish something without any erosion. Infants keep after their goals without any insecurity or despair...I'll do it (pull up to standing, for example) until I get the hang of it.

In early childhood classes for threes we see that some of this agentive behavior has eroded. We meet some threes who are sure they are too little for this new task.
They have learned this lack of agency _from people who love them and try to protect them_ and they don't want to try, not even with a little help from their friends/teachers/parents.

Overprotective behavior, then, is a cause of lowering of agency. It is antithetical to the Reggio Emilia Image of the Child, which sees children as able to do hard things, and encourages them to do so. There is a bit more agency in my new book, Seeing Young Children with New Eyes: What we've learned from Reggio Emilia about children and ourselves, written with Leslie Gleim, which you can find as an e-book on iTunes or Lulu.com and as a paperback on my webpage

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