The contributors to this collection employ the analytic resources of cultural-historical theory to examine the relationship between childhood and children's development under different societal conditions. In particular they attend to relationships between development, emotions, motives and identities, and the social practices in which children and young people may be learners. These practices are kwledge-laden, imbued with cultural values and emotionally freighted by those who already act in them. The book first discusses the organising principles that underpin a cultural-historical understanding of motives, development and learning. The second section foregrounds children's lives to exemplify the implications of these ideas as they are played out - examining how children are positioned as learners in pre-school, primary school and play environments. The final section uses the core ideas to look at the implementation of policy aimed at enhancing children's engagement with opportunities for learning, by discussing motives in the organisations that shape children's development.
Mariane Hedegaard is Professor in Developmental Psychology and Head of the Centre for Person, Practice, Development and Culture at the University of Copenhagen. In 2010 she was awarded a Doctorate honoris causa by the University of Pablo Olavide, Seville. Professor Hedegaard was the founding president of the International Society for Cultural Research and Activity Theory (ISCRAT), now ISCAR. Her research interests include children's activities across different institutional practices. She has authored and co-edited 23 books, nine in English, including Constructing Childhood: Global-Local Policies and Practices; Studying Children: A Cultural-Historical Approach and Vygotsky and Special Needs Education: Rethinking Support for Children and Schools. Anne Edwards is Professor of Educational Studies and Director of the Department of Education at the University of Oxford. She holds a visiting professorship at the University of Oslo and in 2010 was awarded a Doctorate honoris causa by the University of Helsinki. With Viv Ellis, she coordinates the Oxford Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research (OSAT). Her recent research draws on cultural historical and activity theory approaches to learning and organisational change, focusing on professional learning and in particular the relational turn in expertise. Professor Edwards's recent books include: Improving Interprofessional Collaborations: Multi-Agency Working for Children's Wellbeing; Activity Theory in Practice: Promoting Learning across Boundaries and Agencies; Learning Teaching: Cultural Historical Perspectives on Teacher Education and Development; Being an Expert Professional Practitioner: The Relational Turn in Expertise and Improving User-Engagement in Educational Research. Marilyn Fleer holds the foundation chair for early childhood education at Monash University, Australia and is the Research Director for the research group Child and Community Development. She has led 52 research projects, most of which have been funded by nationally or internationally competitive grants. Since 1988 Professor Fleer has published more than 300 articles, books and chapters. Her recent works include: Studying Children: A Cultural-Historical Approach; Early Childhood Education: Society and Culture; Play and Learning in Early Childhood Settings; Constructing Childhood: Global-Local Policies and Practices and Early Learning and Development: Cultural-Historical Concepts in Play. Professor Fleer serves as president of the International Society for Cultural Activity Research (ISCAR).