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I took away some of the models and drawings that the children created, or took photographs of what they produced … (Pahl, 1999: 10) Pahl explained that she had ‘a place in the classroom because my child was in the nursery’, so she was seen as ‘a parent who came and worked with them from time to time’ (1999: 10). Pahl continued to work with individual children for a year and that data, plus things made at home and brought into the nursery, form part of the story. I found this observation interesting: The enabling space Observation 13th September 1996 When I arrived the teacher had a big box and said he would be making things out of boxes.

The settling-in was going well, as demonstrated by the fact that he allowed his mother to stay in the schoolroom while he went outside. There was an understanding about why he did not want cocoa, having burned his mouth the previous day. These observations tell me that Phineas’s emotions were taken into account in this environment. Carrying barrowfuls of sand for several days suggests to me that Frank was enjoying ‘transporting’ or carrying things, experiencing the weight of the sand (Athey, 2007).

This hospital play carried on very freely and dramatically for a long time. (1930: 225) I could be critical and argue that adjectives like ‘cheerful, friendly, considerate and gentle’ are evaluations of behaviour, but what I gained from reading this account are some important points about the practice and what the children were interested in. Phineas at 2;11 was obviously being settled in by his mother, which would be considered good or wise practice nowadays, but was almost unheard of even in the 1970s when my children went to nursery.

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