That s my Daddy! What are 10 boys; aged 5 years of age, getting out of their fathers involvement in their learning?

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1 That s my Daddy! What are 10 boys; aged 5 years of age, getting out of their fathers involvement in their learning? Presentation by Martina Osborne, MA ECE, Hdip SPHE

2 Purpose of Research To explore fathers involvement in their sons lives from a child's perspective Previous research indicated that fathers want to be there for their children (Osborne, 2012) A new Super dad has emerged who is involved, caring, nurturing (Kaufmann, 2013) However, non resident fathers struggle in achieving their rights and in fulfilling their parental role (Canavan, 2012).

3 Irish context of research Within relationships fathers responsibility has largely remained as the provider role and women still take main responsibility for the child care roles (State of the Nation, 2012). Separated families are on the increase with 86% of lone parent families being headed by women (CSO, 2007). Invisible fathers are hard to reach (Ferguson and Hogan, 2007).

4 What is involvement of fathers? Lamb (1987) defined involvement as: interaction; accessibility and responsibility In 1997, Palkovitz identified 15 areas of involvement and highlighted: play, instruction and guidance as major areas Hawkins (2002) in a Father Involvement Inventory suggested a list of 43 possible ways mainly in cognitive, moral and ethical aspects Men can support specific learning opportunities e.g. creative play as in hero play and physical exuberant play that allow opportunities for unique possibilities for activities which support language and literacy development (Stockall and Dennis, 2013).

5 Why is father involvement important? If children are allowed time to be actively and physically engaged with fathers it may have very positive effects on their academic progress in the future (Lamb, 2010). Play which builds on exploration and discovery in areas where men feel they can contribute to their children s learning is valuable to the relationship building and results in bolstering self-esteem (Hawkins et al. 2002) But what do children see as involvement?

6 What are 10 boys; aged 5 years of age, getting out of their fathers involvement in their learning? Research Objectives To find out, from a boys perspective, how fathers are involved in their sons lives. To explore how boys would like their fathers to be involved with them. To examine why boys like their fathers to be involved with them To share and evaluate the data collected with parents and teachers

7 Positionality of research DEIS school; Disadvantaged Education in Schools, provides for social or economic disadvantaged areas (DES 2005) Rural town, population 23,000 High unemployment at 11% Lone parent families 3362 & 542 (CSO,2011) Diverse and culturally mixed Mixed learning abilities English as second language for 25% of school Boys only school Senior infants class 25% of the 40 children who expressed interest were involved in research

8 Methodology Focus group conversation style semi-structured interview using open questions allowing the children the opportunity to explore and elaborate on points that were important to them (Denscombe, 2007). Recorded, transcribed and analysed into themes Art work used as a visual and reflective method (Pahl and Allen, 2011, Levy, 2009) Exhibition of art with Speech bubbles of conversation pieces to share with parents and teachers. Questionnaires for parents and teachers (Cohen Morrison, Manion, 2008)

9 Ethical Considerations RESEARCH SITE Young, unknown, male, children with female researcher in a school environment. ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION Trust; safety; child protection; power imbalance; children s voice. METHOD USED: Comfortable familiar room with toilet facility for children Research room next to teacher s classroom Male Learning Support assistant familiar to children Community Artist experienced with working with young children Informed consent of parents, with opt out option Children given their own information letter and offered an opt out Information Letters translated into Polish Board of Management and school Principal approval to ensure compliance with school ethics. Ethical approval applied for and given by Sheffield University

10 Analysis of research Question 1 What do you like to do with your Daddy?

11 Categories of technology based activities

12 Analysis of research Question 2 If you had a special wish: What would you wish to do with your Daddy?

13 Comparative between Question 1 and 2

14 Findings of Question 3 Why do you like doing things with Daddy? Cos my Daddy and my Mammy brought me to see Nemo, and we got popcorn, and we had a drink and it had straws Cos I like it and I like playing with my dog too Analysis: Boys struggled to answer why? Those that did gave emotive answers of satisfaction of being with Daddy.

15 Children s art is not only making their thinking visible but it provides us with a slice of their life (Goodnow, 1977) Would you like to draw a picture of you and Daddy? Me and Daddy, playing on the phone. A real phone he gave me

16 Would you like to draw a picture of you and Daddy? Me and Daddy are swimming in Latvia. I go there next week. That s my Daddy; my Daddy is lifting me with one of his hands. He s holding a hammer and me. Then I walk home holding my baby sister

17 Would you like to draw a picture of you and Daddy? Playing robot games. Daddy and me are robots Me and my cousins and my Daddy, with Lego. We made a house, we have one piece left

18 Would you like to draw a picture of you and Daddy? Driving a police car. Daddy s in the back. Mister police; bad guy. Sun. Happy. I m the driver.

19 Feedback from teachers, mothers and fathers It was lovely to picture the children having fun with their fathers. It was great to see my son so creative. Hearing the personal stories was enlightening

20 Findings Quantitative data showed that fathers were more involved with IT activities than physical activities; few boys read or cooked with their fathers; while half of the children told of outings with their Dads. Qualitative data demonstrated that the boys valued time spent with Daddy and wishes for their fathers to be more involved in physical activities, holidays and home visits were expressed Using art as a medium of literacy made their thinking visible and showed mothers, fathers and teachers the enjoyment and their learning of being with their fathers. Especially valuable with ESL children

21 Policy implications The learning from fathers involvement with children clearly links into Aistear (DOCYA, 2010) framework of Well-being, Identity and Belonging, Exploring & Thinking, and Communication Better Outcomes Brighter Futures policy (DOCYA, 2014) presents an opportunity for members of Children & Young Peoples Services Committees to ensure that fathers rights and responsibilities are supported across all sectors of education and welfare and are responsive to children s voice.

22 Warning! Involving fathers is not always the wish of children as many of them want family and school to stay distinctly apart. Children s privacy in school should be honoured and involvement of parents needs to be done in consultation with children (Edwards et al. 2000).

23 Finally Nixon, Greene and Hogan (2012) found that what matters to children is a sense of commitment and connection with their fathers. This study suggests to teachers and early years educators to value the involvement of fathers in children s lives and to explore diverse methods of including fathers in pre-school and school activities.

24 That s my Daddy Presentation at Play on the Brain Early Childhood Ireland Conference by Martina Osborne MAECE Hdip SPHE 17th April 2015

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