A Cultural-Historical Reading of the Emotional Development of Young Children

Marilyn Fleer, Marie Hammer, Sue March
page. 47~67 / 2014 Vol.8 No.2


The telling of fairytales has been a longstanding practice within the field of early childhood education inmany communities across the Asia Pacific region. But what do we know about how educators usefairytales for the development of emotions for preschool aged children? In drawing upon culturalhistoricaltheory (Vygotsky, 1971, 1987, 1999), this paper presents the findings of a study into howfairytales were introduced to preschool aged children (n=30; from 3.3 to 5.3 years with mean age 4.2years) and theorises the value of fairytales for the development of children’s emotions in the context ofthe pedagogical conditions that are created through the use of fairytales. A pedagogical framework isintroduced which captures the unique characteristics of fairy tales in the context of the pedagogicalfeatures that were used by the educators in the study presented. The key concept of affective imaginationor emotional imagination is used to discuss the fairytale of “Jack and the Beanstalk” from the data set of74 hours of digital video observations gathered over 16 preschool sessions.

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