Talk and interactions in the infant room

Talk and interactions in the infant room

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In Australia today, around 1 in 4 children under the age of two are attending early childhood education and care programs. Attention is therefore drawn to the quality of these programs, and in particular, which features of the group education and care context can support these very young children's development and learning.

Contact Sheila: sheila.degotardi@mq.edu.au, visit her staff profile on the Institute of Early Childhood website or visit the CFRC Infant and Toddler conference website

The 'Talk and interactions in the infant room' project is an ARC Discovery funded grant which aims to explore the language environment of infant-toddler long-day-care programs. This 3-year project is lead by Dr Sheila Degotardi and brings together researchers from Macquarie University and Charles Sturt University to investigate the characteristics of infant-educator and infant-peer interactions. In particular, the study aims to:

  • investigate the quantity and qualities of language used by infant educators when interacting with infants,
  • investigate the qualities of the language environment that are directly experienced and created by infants in long day care centres,
  • determine relationships between (i) educators' qualifications, adult-child ratios, group size and the availability of professional support and (ii) the language qualities of infant long day care programs, and 
  • explore how infants and educators in long day care centres use their linguistic and communicative resources to initiate and sustain reciprocal interactions between infants, their educators and peers. 

The project is using extensive recorded video and audio observations of both infants and educators in order to explore the complexity of infants' interactions. With over 60 early childhood centres participating, this exciting study represents the largest observational study of infant rooms in Australia to date. Findings will inform current understandings of quality in infant-toddler rooms, as well as theories of how young children develop language and learn through language.

Are you interested in learning more about infant-toddler research and practice - see information about the Infants and Toddlers conference which took place in September at CFRC Infant and Toddler conference

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