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- ItemAboriginal children's perceptions of their urban living environments(2010-04-28T18:15:17Z) Farris, Jillian; Fitzgerald, MichaelContemporary research in the field of child and youth study continues to examine the experiences of children living within urban environments. This research has tended to examine challenges to child development present within city living, such as freedom of movement and mobility, use of built space, and safety concerns related to strangers. A recent trend within this research has been the increased inclusion of children's voices and perspectives in discussions related to the planning of urban environments, and of municipal programs and services for children and their families. Lacking within recent study, however, has been the inclusion of the perceptions of urban Aboriginal children related to their lived experiences within Canadian urban centres. Given the historical context in which this population exists, as well as the contemporary context including, a relatively young, growing population, increased urbanization and high birth rates, it is apparent that a consideration of the place and space available to Aboriginal children within cities is of growing concern and significance. The present research, utilizing qualitative inquiry, elicited the views and perspectives of Aboriginal children currently residing within the Halifax Regional Municipality, for the purpose of exploring, discovering, and understanding their perceptions of their outdoor living environments. Individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven children of various First Nation affiliations, between the ages of 8-12 years. Children were given personal, single-use cameras to document their neighbourhoods and outdoor experiences over the course of one week. Photographs were used during individual interviews as a resource for children to describe their thoughts, feelings, meanings and understandings related to their daily living experiences. Interviews were audio-taped and collected data were transcribed and analyzed using systematic, cross-comparative methods that resulted in the identification of four major organizing categories: Neighbourhood Characteristics; Neighbourhood Activities; Neighbourhood Safety; and Neighbourhood Mobility. Recommendations are presented for future research, parents and families, child and youth care providers, governments, and community planners and developers.
- ItemAdverse Childhood Experiences: Early Childhood Educators Awareness and Perceived Support(Mount Saint Vincent University, 2019-12) Smith, MarlaIntroduction: Research suggests that early childhood is a sensitive and influential period in a child’s development. Experiencing stressful experiences during this developmental phase can cause unfavourable outcomes for children and their future development. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are experiences that can impact a child prior to the age of 18. ACEs can provide toxic stress to children and their developing brain, causing a permanent change in brain chemistry. Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) are individuals who work to support the development of children between their most malleable ages of 0 to 5. Although important for future behaviour and development, there is limited research regarding ECEs and their awareness or perceived support related to supporting children who have experiencing, or are experiencing, ACEs. Methods: A Qualitative Description approach was used in order to portray participants experiences. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ECEs working for regulated child care centres through Nova Scotia. Results: Thematic analysis was completed and resulted in useful insight into ECEs awareness and perceived support relating to ACEs. ECEs described their awareness of ACEs, receiving this awareness from parent and educator communication, child behaviours, community location as well as barriers to this awareness such as varying comfort levels of parents and stigma. Educators suggested that creating supportive relationships and environments were important when supporting children who have been through ACEs. Additionally, educators spoke to their community’s ability to support them in supporting ACEs. Educators suggested that factors such as increased training opportunities and professional development would help support children. Significance: This research begins to fill the gap between ACEs and early childhood education. This research also provides insight into future supports needed to support ECEs.
- ItemAgency in the Early Years: A Discussion with Nova Scotia Early Childhood Educators(Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023-04-04) Brown, SarahChildren’s agency is the ability to move through and influence physical spaces, routines, and social spaces while being mindful of others sharing the space with them. It is important for children in early childcare settings to establish their agency, as it is one of the few places outside of the child’s home where they can interact with other people. Critically, developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) has been considered the standard practice of early childcare, where children’s bodies are managed in order to comply with adult standards. An over reliance on DAP standards can limit the possibilities for children to express themselves and curtails their ability to be agentic. The aim of this research is to learn from early childhood educators (ECEs) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, if and how they are able to prioritize children’s voices within their practice in order to support children’s agency. Using a qualitative case-study with a focus group methodology, this researcher found participants who prioritized freedoms within their classroom settings to allow children to express themselves. Four themes emerged from these discussions surrounding agency; practitioner’s philosophies inform children’s agency, institutional structures can impact children’s agency, settings and routine informs children’s agency, and supporting young children’s voices. Two recommendations arose from this study found that professional development needs to explicitly discuss children’s agency and child rights in order to bring these understandings to the foreground of ECEs’ practice. The second recommendation is that professional development for ECEs should shift towards a more decolonialized approach, where the emphasis is on facilitating discussions regarding critical issues to challenge the assumptions held by ECEs.
- ItemAnti-bias and culturally supportive curriculums in early childhood education classrooms in Nova Scotia(2010-04-28T18:25:54Z) Quilty, Leah; Kienapple, KimThis study was designed to examine if anti bias and culturally responsive curriculums are present in urban and rural daycares in Nova Scotia. Additional factors were investigated to determine the relationship between early childhood educators' training, the length of time that they have been in the field, the number of professional training programs or academic courses on this curricula which they have attended, the ways in which the courses were conducted, the skills they were taught, a measure of cultural sensitivity, and the implementation and maintenance of a culturally responsive curriculum. Given that there is no current listing of early childhood educators in the province of Nova Scotia, the desired sample size was estimated using the following assumptions: at least 6 staff are employed in each urban center and 3 staff are employed in each rural daycare. Given that there are 379 licensed daycares in the province it was estimated that there would be 1527 early childhood educators in the province. Of the 308 early childhood educators who were approached, 32 (9%) responded to the invitation to participate. A decision was made not to seek more survey responses because of the time and expense relative to an anticipated low number of additional returns. An Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ISS) and a questionnaire developed for the research was used to gather data in this study. The ISS was used to determine each participant's level of intercultural sensitivity and in particular how well each respondent interacted, enjoyed, respected, felt comfortable, and was attentive to students of various backgrounds. The questionnaire was used to gather information about demographics, the type of training early childhood professionals had received on anti-bias and culturally responsive curricula, the teacher's attitudes toward an anti-bias and culturally responsive curriculum, how teachers were making their classrooms and curriculum responsive to all students, the supports that the teachers perceived as being in their schools for them to engage in anti-bias practice, and the problems and issues they believed must be addressed in order to carry out successful multicultural education programs. Based on the fact that participants of this study did not mention features of the anti-bias and culturally responsive curriculum that past researchers have mentioned as critical, and the fact that this study showed no significant outcomes between those who were trained, either by degree, diploma, or the equivalency, and their culturally sensitivity, and the fact that one's level of experience did not have any significant impact on the way in which they were trained, it was suggested that in order for these outcomes to be adjusted it is the training program facilitator that needs to adjust.
- ItemAutism and Employment: Youth YouTube Vloggers' Perspectives(Mount Saint Vincent University, 2022-04-25) Nersesova, NinaThis research focused on young people with autism spectrum (AS) who share their first voice perspectives in relation to employment as described on their YouTube channels. Previous research shows that people with AS experience unemployment or underemployment, including a paucity of workplace accommodations. Therefore, there is a requirement to explore employment outcomes for this marginalized group in order to increase their quality of life, economic independence, and social integration and ultimately benefit both employers and employees. This thesis examines YouTube videos of youth vloggers (15-24 years old) who identify as autists and whose content is in English. The thesis uses a media content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005) to collect data from the YouTube social media platform and examines youth vloggers’ experiences with employment using an inductive approach by coding and categorizing the data. The popularization of the Internet allows people with AS to be heard and it is a valuable source to listen to their lived experiences. The findings show that the youth in this study experience workplace barriers, such as: standardized interview process, lack of workplace accommodations and societal discrimination. These challenges led to various mental health problems, job termination and decreased quality of life. However, the youth vloggers also discuss different coping techniques for positive employment outcomes, including the option of self-employment. While contributing to the existing literature, this study also demonstrates the importance of accessing the first voice perspectives of youth with AS to ensure equitable access to their employment.
- ItemBeing a SpaceMaker: Critical Reflections on Indigenous Digital Storytelling(Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023-04) Andrade, Priya JasmineStories illustrate humanity and its relationship to creation, time and place situating us all in an invisible web of interconnectedness. Storytelling is an integral and valued site of knowledge among Indigenous peoples in Canada and is an invitation to (new) settlers to listen and participate in reconciliation. One of the dilemmas is how do we listen and why should we? I address these tensions in my research by centering Indigenous digital storytelling through short films and animation available online and produced by youth in remote and rural First Nations communities in Canada. Using media art as a form of storytelling highlights Indigenous worldviews and connects the artist to their community centering it as a site of power. Media art liberates Indigenous youth voices encouraging democratization for their communities and practicing relational accountability with settler viewer audiences aiding them to become SpaceMakers. A SpaceMaker is a non-Indigenous ally who finds everyday ways to engage in reconciliation. As a Goan immigrant who came to Canada via Dubai in the late 90s, becoming Canadian challenged my relational responsibility to the Indigenous stewards whom I benefit from. Historically, the tyranny of colonialism has ravaged the Canadian social landscape, and, in this paper, I propose the antidote, disrupting hegemony with digital storytelling because it negotiates a collective definition of living together. This paper centers Indigenous epistemology and social semiotics as methodologies to engage media art and encourage reconciliation in a dialogic way in Canadian classrooms and to anyone who wants to learn to listen.
- ItemBlack Girls in Orange Jumpsuits: A Scoping Review of How School Pushout Leads to The Criminalization of Black Girls in Canadian Schools(Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023-05) Fletcher-Dyer, Kadeon AntonetteBlack youth in Canada face significant obstacles when navigating the education system due to institutional and social barriers that impede their access to a comprehensive education. This situation is particularly problematic for Black girls, who experience compounded challenges due to their intersecting identities. To explore the relationship between the lived experiences of Black girls in Canadian schools and school pushout and the school-to-prison pipeline, I conducted a scoping review of literature published between 2010 and 2022. A search of 10 databases yielded 1404 articles, which were then screened and reduced to 12 using inclusion and exclusion criteria. Three common themes emerged from the analysis: 1) exclusionary discipline policies, including zero-tolerance policies, often criminalize Black girls’ actions and lead to premature school dropout, 2) Black girls are subjected to static, stereotypical identities that result in alienation and otherization within Canadian classrooms, and 3) systemic racism perpetuates racial inequalities and discrimination, contributing significantly to school pushout. The review underscores the need for further ethnographical research that centers the voices and perspectives of Black girls to gain a better understanding of how zero-tolerance policies, static stereotypes, and systemic racism contribute to their marginalization and pushout from schools and into the school-to-prison pipeline in Canada. Such research is essential to inform equity and diversity policies and design strategies that address the institutional and interpersonal barriers and discrimination that Black girls face.
- ItemThe Bullying Phenomenon: Definition, Prevention, and Intervention(2012-09-10) Dorey, Sarah; French, CarmelBullying not only affects victims, but also perpetrators, bystanders, and society at large. Despite concentrated efforts from schools, community organizations, and governing bodies, not only has traditional bullying continued, but bullying has now carried over to cyberspace. Until a better understanding of the motivations behind bullying acts is identified, this phenomenon will continue. This study sought to enhance current knowledge regarding bullying, specifically participant’s understanding of bullying and cyberbullying, and their reaction to being involved in or witnessing bullying incidents. One hundred and eighty-one first and second year students at Mount Saint Vincent University who were enrolled full-time in an arts, science or professional program completed a researcher designed questionnaire. The majority of the participants were female (76.9%) between the ages of 18 and 20. Qualitative analysis, using a modified grounded theory approach, was used to analysis participants’ responses to open ended questions. Quantitative data analysis of dichotomous items was limited to the calculation of means, ranges, and percentages. As the number of participants in the gender, age, university program, and ethnic groups were so skewed, statistical comparisons were not feasible. Participants were divided fairly evenly by geographic region, but Chi square calculations revealed no statistically significant differences between the two groups. The majority of participants (63.9%) reported being bullied, 26.7% reported bullying others and 82.2% reported witnessing bullying incidents. They also had a good understanding of what constitutes bullying, noting that it went beyond physical harm, typically occurred more than once, and was usually intentional. Interventions, unfortunately, only took place 20.5% of the time and of these, slightly over half were viewed as effective in stopping bullying acts. Many reasons for both bullying and stopping bullying behaviours revolved around peer influence; bullies sought peer acceptance via bullying others, and ceased behaviours when peers did not provide the desired attention. Another explanation given for bullying was the bully seeking an increase in self worth and to feel better about themselves by making others feel worse. These results suggest that increasing peer intervention and decreasing peer approval may be an effective method to aid in the discontinuation of bullying behaviours. The results of this study also suggest that an effective preventative approach may be to find other means of increasing potential perpetrator’s self esteem and confidence.
- ItemCharacters of Colour as Depicted in Canadian Children’s Picture Books(Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023) Chen, YingyiPicture Books designed for children can be a way for children to learn about themselves and others. While a growing number of Canadian children’s picture books are labelled racially/ethnically diverse or multicultural and characters of colour (CoC) in these books might have increased over time, it remains unclear if or how they are advocating for the promotion of social justice and diversity portray Persons of Colour (PoC). To illuminate if/how racism and oppression operate in contemporary Canadian children’s picture books, this thesis research examines how CoC are depicted in both text and images of the six selected books included in the Social Justice and Diversity Book Bank of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre by applying Critical Race Theory and Critical Content Analysis. The six books (Pre-K to Grade 2) published since 2016 containing one or more CoC with central themes of racial/ethnic diversity and/or multiculturalism. While the representations are mostly without overt racism towards CoC, each of the books can be identified as problematic in various ways, including lack of explicit statements of the race/ethnicity of CoC in text, lack of culturally authentic details in text and images, persistence of racial/ethnic stereotypes or cultural deficit discourses in text and images, and absence of overtly addressing racism in text and counter-storytelling of CoC. Examining the depictions of CoC in these books has enabled us to develop a clearer understanding how contemporary Canadian children’s picture books reflect authentic/stereotypical representations of PoC, or reproduce dominant ideologies that reinforce their marginalization.
- ItemCode-Mixing in the Bilingual Preschool Child: Understanding the Communicative Purpose(Mount Saint Vincent University, 2016-04) Lyne, AmyThis study aimed to identify the social functions and purposes to the commonly misunderstood act of code-mixing among bilingual preschool aged children, and to support its acceptance as a valid stage towards becoming bilingual. Current research in the field of bilingual language acquisition and development supports that preschool aged children are not only able to learn two languages simultaneously, but are further capable of differentiating and manipulating both languages given the social and communicative context (Genesee, 2008; Nicoladis & Genesee, 2007; Paradis & Nicoladis, 2007). Other research has demonstrated that code-mixing follows a specific syntactic pattern of production among emerging bilinguals (Woolford, 1983); however, there is limited evidence towards determining the purpose of the act, specifically from a Canadian English-French bilingual context. Bilingual language proficiency for the preschool students in this study were established through a Family Language Use Survey, a Classroom Language Use Survey, as well as a Bilingual Questionnaire designed to measure both expressive and receptive language skills in both languages for 12 English-French bilingual preschool students (aged 3-5). Interactions between participants were recorded and analyzed to first identify 186 incidences of code-mixing, which were then transcribed and coded based on communicative purpose (Brown, 2007), function of language use (Halliday, 1973; as cited by Brown, 2007), as well as for parts of speech (Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman, 2015), in determining the functional and social purpose in language choice. This study hoped to demonstrate not only that bilingual preschool aged children’s use of code-mixing serves as a stepping stone towards becoming bilingual, but that it further holds a real communicative and social purpose as well.