Growing Up in Walltown, Italy
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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Pädagogik
Growing up in Walltown, Italy presents an ethnographic account of the culture of early childhood education, as it is constructed in two municipal schools (a nursery and a childhood school) of an Italian town, explored through extensive participant observation and interviews of educators, teachers, school coordinators, mothers, and cooks and school staff. After providing background information on Italian early childhood education, the author describes and interprets the process of children's insertion into the world of the school as a "passage" whose ritual steps—initially accompanied by a parent—are carefully prepared by educators and teachers, so that the "passengers" will successfully settle in, and become competent members and participants of the respective educational communities. The author focuses on the educational and cultural learning that children between six months and five years of age attain by exercising their agency, capacity for communication, interaction and responsibility, and imagination in planned educational projects, daily activities as the "reading time" and convivial appointments as meals. The educators' and teachers' professional and personal engagement and care, together with the collaboration of the other school people, are thoroughly illustrated, and their meaningful attention to, and respect for children's pace of learning and participation are pointed out.