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Title: Compassion in early childhood: Exploring the lived experience of young children
Contributor(s): Heeley, Patricia Ellen (author); Edwards, Helen (supervisor); Wolodko, Brenda (supervisor); Elliott, Sue (supervisor); Jones, Tiffany (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2016
Copyright Date: 2016
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Compassion is a term frequently used both in the early childhood profession and more broadly in Australian society to describe desirable qualities of interactions, relationships and characteristics of programs and educators. What is meant when this term is written, spoken or theorised is not readily defined. The implications of the experience of compassion for young children under two years of age and for early childhood practice has typically been expressed in an ambiguous manner. Compassion is also a foundational concept of Buddhist philosophy, which has provided a rich source of knowledge to facilitate understandings in this area. It is in the space where early childhood theory and these philosophies interact that caregivers have discovered a rich place to explore the complexities of compassion. In this qualitative study, hermeneutic phenomenology was used to gain insight into this space. This was achieved by examining the way compassion is manifested in the lived experience of young children (van Manen, 2015). Personal narratives and observational data of young children in their homes and in the early childhood centre they attended were interpreted. These observations were used to illuminate the role of compassion in children’s everyday lives and within the theory and practice of early childhood education. The data identified the intrinsic way the phenomenon of compassion existed within the relationships that are considered critical to the learning and development of young children including: attachment relationships; caring relationships; connectedness with nature; pedagogical relationships; spiritual relationships; and its role in peace.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Field of Research Codes: 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
Rights Statement: Copyright 2016 - Patricia Ellen Heeley
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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Appears in Collections:School of Education
Thesis Masters Research

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