Framing young children’s humour and practitioner responses to it using a Bakhtinian carnivalesque lens

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Abstract

This article presents findings from a pilot study offering an alternative framing of children's humour and laughter in an early childhood education setting. It employs a Bakhtinian carnivalesque lens to explore the nature of children's humour in an urban nursery, and investigate the framing of children's humour and laughter outside the popular paradigm of developmental psychology. In addition, it addresses the challenge that children's humour can present for early childhood practitioners, turning to Bakhtin's analysis of carnival to frame children's humour as carnivalesque. This conception is then offered as a part of a potential explanation for practitioners' occasional resistance to children's humour, proposing that dominating, authoritative discourses within early childhood education play a significant role in this. The article draws on a number of theorists, including Bakhtin more widely, to address reasons why humour is not valued pedagogically within the UK early childhood field, and suggests that further research in the area is imperative, in order that we gain a better understanding of the place and significance of children's humour within early childhood practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Early Childhood
Volume47
Early online date11 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

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