Using complexity thinking to explore games of chase in the early childhood curriculum
This research uses complexity thinking to explore games of chase in the early childhood curriculum and is part of a wider PhD research. It investigates using complexity thinking firstly, to occasion emergence (i.e., create a new phenomenon) in children‟s games of chase at an early childhood centre and secondly, to describe this emergence. This final report to SPARC presents a local curriculum theory for games of chase at the centre which explains the design (curriculum design) and describes how the games of chase curriculum unfolded (curriculum dynamics). The local curriculum theory, curriculum design and curriculum dynamics are underpinned by the discourse of complexity thinking. This research involved taking the role of a volunteer teacher-researcher-curriculum designer at an early childhood centre to play games of chase with children. This role was informed by and contributed to the curriculum design that focused on designing the teaching and learning environment to occasion emergence in learning and curriculum. The games of chase curriculum contributed to children‟s learning, my own learning and the general rhythm at the centre. The children learnt to distinguish between children who were playing and those who were not. They also learnt to tag in different ways. In addition, the children and I developed a game playing routine before playing each game. This routine involved putting on tag belts, discussing what game we were playing and how we were going to play it. We played three different games of chase, starting with tag, followed by What is the time Mr(s) Wolf? and finally the emergent game Big A, Little A. The curriculum dynamics or enacted curriculum is described in terms of narratives related to three curriculum-related phenomena, i.e., teaching, activities related to games of chase, and children‟s learning in, through and about games of chase. This research suggests that teachers who are interested in exploring games of chase at their own centres can use the local curriculum theory presented here as a starting point for their own explorations. Using the local curriculum theory implies adapting the curriculum design presented here to fit the local teaching situation and drawing relevant insights from the curriculum dynamics that unfolded in this research. In this way, the teacher can be seen as using complexity thinking to expand on teaching, learning and curriculum possibilities in his/her own setting.