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Listening-2: Investigating sensory-motor learning in two-year olds.


Prof Maggie MacLure & Christina MacRae

Funded by the Froebel Trust. 

The 'Listening-2' project draws on Froebelian philosophy, to both value parents' knowledge of their own children, whilst also engaging with Froebel’s idea that there is something unique about the ways that young children engage with the world. By tuning in to this, adults can learn both from and with the child.  It aims to explore an untapped potential in bringing Froebelian philosophy into conversation with a materially-informed pedagogy that is attentive to 2-year olds' sensory and affective ways of knowing. In particular it will work with Froebelian concepts such as 'unfoldment', attention and intuition. At the heart of the project is an innovative slow-motion, video-based methodology that allows parents as co-researchers to 'listen' to 2-year-olds in a dedicated community space, where 'listening' is understood as an expanded attentiveness, not simply to words, but crucially, to movement, sound and gesture. Listening-2 builds on strong, well-established relationships within a nursery setting. It explicitly engages parents and early years practitioners as researcher-collaborators in a diverse, inner-city Children's Centre in Manchester. It has much to contribute to national debates around disadvantage, parenting and school readiness, by understanding parents' engagements with their children as positive attunement rather than as parenting 'deficit'.

Selected Publications 

C. MacRae (2020). Tactful hands and vibrant mattering in the sand tray. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. pp.146879842090185-146879842090185. 

C. MacRae (2019). ‘Grace Taking Form’. Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy. 4(1), pp.151-166. 

C. MacRae (2019) The Red Blanket: A dance of animacy. Global Studies of Childhood. pp.204361061983289-204361061983289.​

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