The family at the centre of early learning
The family at the centre of early learning

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

The family at the centre of early learning

1 Remembering childhood

Penn and McQuail (1997) found that students drew heavily on childhood memories to inform their practice. Reflecting back on your childhood experiences with your parent(s), carers or extended families, you may feel that they influenced how you understand children, childhood and possibly parenthood or practice. Can you see traits, dispositions, temperaments and attitudes in yourself that you think might be passed on from previous generations? Or perhaps, as a parent, you can identify aspects of your parenting style with how you were brought up.

Described image
Figure 1 Evie and her grandmother sharing memories and learning

Look at this photograph of Evie and her Grandmother enjoying a song together. Evie’s favourite songs are ‘Pat-a-cake,’ ‘Round and round the garden like a teddy bear’, ‘This little piggy’, ‘Rock-a-bye baby’ and ‘One, two, buckle my shoe’; songs which have been handed down through the generations in her family. They formed part of her mother’s childhood experience and now they have significance as part of this family’s culture.

Although ‘“culture” describes a set of related beliefs and practices of a particular community’, it is important to recognise that ‘not everyone in the community will understand or practise them in the same way’ (Penn, 2009, p. 49). Singing and clapping games between adults and children are common across many communities, but they will be practised differently from group to group and also within each group. Evie’s experience of traditional songs and rhymes will be shaped by the way she plays these games with particular members of her family. So ‘culture’ refers to social influences on children’s learning on many different levels.

Activity 1

By signing in and enrolling on this course you can view and complete all activities within the course, track your progress in My OpenLearn. and when you have completed a course, you can download and print a free Statement of Participation - which you can use to demonstrate your learning.

Click on 'SIGN IN to enrol' to get started.

You can find out more about registering and OpenLearn in our FAQs.

Key points

  • Childhood memories are valuable in understanding the influence of family on the experience of childhood.
  • Children’s experiences of play and interaction are influenced by their family culture.
E109_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus