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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100


DARIES, Glynnis  and  EBRAHIM, Hasina. Funds of knowledge and agentic strategies of three- and four-year-old children in South Africa. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2021, vol.41, n.3, pp.1-9. ISSN 2076-3433.

In South Africa, little is known about the funds of knowledge of young children, and how they use this resource to affirm their agency in early childhood centres to build their childhood experiences. With this article we contribute knowledge through exploring the strategies that young children use to show their agency and thereby their funds of knowledge in a marginalised context. The funds of knowledge approach is helpful for illuminating meaning-making endeavours that foreground agentic actions that are imaginative, creative and beyond normative expectations. The study reported on in this article was conducted in Bloemfontein, South Africa, at 4 early childhood centres. Data were obtained through observation of 30 three- and 4-year-old children. The findings suggest that young children engage in agentic strategies of avoiding, ignoring and challenging adult control, pretend-play, imitation of adults and peers, and gendered negotiations, as efforts to contest a largely teacher-controlled environment. The insights from this study contribute to the understanding of the kinds of practices in which young children routinely engage, but which are often disregarded and undervalued by teachers. The agentic imagery of children, together with intersections of other imagery, needs to be part of the knowledge mix to inform teacher development and policy on early childhood care and education of children between birth and 4 years old in South Africa.

Keywords : agency; funds of knowledge; marginalised context; practitioners; South Africa; teacher development; 3- to 4-year-old children.

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