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Who's the Boss? Young Children's Power and Influence in an Early Childhood Classroom

Keywords: Early Childhood Education , Young Children , Peer Relationships , Teacher-Child Relationships

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Abstract:

Using classroom observations and teacher interviews, this study examined how three young children, considered classroom leaders by their teachers, created complex dilemmas for their teachers through their interactions with teachers and peers. Findings showed that the children's powerful influence on their peers could be both positive and negative, and they could use their influence to agitate other children in ways that challenged teachers' thinking about building classroom community. The findings present an opportunity to address the influence of power dynamics in daily early childhood classroom practices and to expand on teachers' thinking about ways to negotiate power in relationships as they work to build classroom community.

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