Child-centered practices and pedagogies of listening to children are part and parcel of progressive early childhood education. As critical early childhood teachers and researchers, we demonstrate that we value the voices and narratives of children by placing them at the center of our classroom and research agendas. Simultaneously, however, young children’s social position can put them at the mercy of adults’ (teachers’ and researchers’) whims, and their stories may easily be consumed in the name of provocative classroom displays or academic articles. This work explores the potential for visual participatory research, guided by critical childhood studies, to grasp the stories that young children themselves want to tell. Through interviews and group meetings wherein young children (ages 2 to 5) show, gesture, and talk about the photographs they take, the children and their peers make determinations as to how their stories take shape. The narrative I share in this work illustrates one young child’s identity work during the Collaborative Seeing process. Jaylen’s participation in the study speaks to how we can come to see and know children on their terms.

Author Biography

Tran Templeton

Tran Nguyen Templeton is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Studies at the University of North Texas. Tran studies how children construct their own identities through photography, play, and literacy practices; she also thinks and writes about how adults would better "see" children if they stopped to listen and look at what children do in and with the world. Tran has published her work in journals like Children's Geographies, Harvard Educational Review, The New Educator, and Language Arts. Most importantly, her profile photo was taken by Tulasi Cormier-Marri (who was 3 years old at the time).



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