Understanding Children and Childhood

Author(s): Anne B Smith

Children & Adolescents | NZ History/Society | Social Work

Understanding Children and Childhood examines how and why children develop, and how they interact with the people and events in their lives.

Emphasising that children grow up in diverse cultural contexts, Anne Smith’s book builds an understanding of childhood in New Zealand based on childhood studies and sociocultural theory. The voices and experience of children are central to this book. The varied contexts within which children learn and come to understand the world are explored; case studies and examples reflect children’s experiences from their perspective. Use of the latest research and policy completes a rich introduction to the key stages, theories and debates of childhood development.

Children’s rights and social justice issues are foregrounded early, embedded in a broad theoretical framework. Children’s development is then presented as driven by learning, supported by opportunities for reciprocal social interaction across diverse cultural contexts. This approach highlights the importance for children of working collaboratively and thinking flexibly, enabling them to cope with the new, challenging and uncertain futures of twenty-first century New Zealand.


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Anne Smith is Professor Emeritus at the University of Otago College of Education and formerly the Director of the Children’s Issues Centre, an interdisciplinary research centre at the university. She has been writing and carrying out research about children for many years. Although originally trained as an educational psychologist, Anne’s research is currently framed within sociology of childhood, children’s rights, and socio-ecological theoretical perspectives. It emphasises children as social actors, interpreters and participants in the events and experiences of their lives. Anne Smith is currently continuing to write in the field of Childhood Studies to highlight the undervaluing of children in moderns societies. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1995, awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Oulu Finland in 1998, and became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2006.

Preface Acknowledgements Part I Theorising Childhood 1 Theoretical Frameworks for Childhood 2 The Principles of Learning 3 Children as Citizens Part II The Crucial Beginnings 4 Infancy 5 Early Childhood Education Part III Domains of Learning 6 Being and Becoming Sociable 7 Language and Culture 8 Thinking in Context 9 Assessment for Learning Part IV Diverse Childhoods 10 Making Sense of Gender 11 Inclusion of Children with Disabilities Part V Sustaining and Nurturing Human Capacity 12 Families and Whānau Bibliography

General Fields

  • : 9781927131763
  • : Bridget Williams Books
  • : Bridget Williams Books
  • : November 2013
  • : New Zealand
  • : November 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Anne B Smith
  • : Paperback
  • : 5th Edition
  • : 155.41
  • : 416