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“But I had it first!” Young children, possession, and social problem solving

Julie Treweek and Janette Kelly-Ware

This qualitative case study research explored children’s social disputes in one New Zealand kindergarten. The disputes typically related to the possession of resources and space. “First possession” was found to be significant, hence the name of this article. The notion that children have to experience “possession” and “ownership” to learn about these fundamental concepts was reinforced. Young children’s problem solving during peer disputes was identified and teachers were seen “stepping back”, thus providing children with time and space to work through their disputes. Teachers reading this article will recognise the importance of having a shared philosophy that drives teaching practice. They will also be provoked to consider how they support children to problem solve and work through their disputes with others, and consider video as a reflective tool for improving their practice.

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