It is important to remember that, across the world, wider contexts beyond the home can profoundly affect childhood experiences and family life. For most of the world’s children, everyday life is far from the safe, carefree, playful, innocent time that is often assumed (Penn, 2008). Poverty, inequality and injustice can all impact on children’s sense of self, their place in the family and their relationships with others. However, it would be wrong to make a general assumption that certain environmental conditions necessarily presuppose the quality of childhood experiences within the family.
For this reason, in this free course, The family at the centre of early learning, you have looked beyond this wider social and political backdrop and have focused on the positive learning relationships that can exist in any family. You have explored how ordinary, everyday domestic activities can sustain rich companionable learning between children and those closest to them. You have also considered how the traditions and cultural practices of the community to which the family belongs filter through to the child’s experiences. Ultimately every home revolves around individual relationships and ways of doing things and as such the family represents a unique foundation for early childhood.