Symposium Title: Insights into Change and Learning: Adult and Child Perspectives
The Excellence in Research in the Early Years Collaborative Research Network (CRN) is an Australian government- funded initiative to support collaboration amongst early years academics and PhD candidates at Charles Sturt University, Queensland University of Technology and Monash University. The purpose of the collaboration is to build research, skills and knowledge, and to contribute to strengthening Australian evidence base about early childhood education. This symposium illustrates some of the collaborative work being undertaken by members of the CRN. The projects featured in the symposium focus on the early childhood workforce, professional learning, and children’s learning, with references to the conference themes of leadership, community and identity. Collectively, the presentations offer insights into how adults and children make sense of complex and changing contexts and circumstances.
The impact of learning a second language on children’s friendships has rarely been studied from a child’s perspective. This paper describes two monolingual school-aged children’s insights into becoming bilingual at four time points: 2 months before moving to another country (while living in an English-speaking country), as well as one, six and twelve months after moving to Germany. The participants were English-speaking siblings (male with mild speech sound disorder aged 7- to 8-years and a typically developing female aged 9- to 10-years) who subsequently learned to speak German. At each of the four time points, interviews were undertaken with each child using child-friendly drawing and questionnaire techniques. The impact of language ability on making friends was a dominant theme that arose across the four time points and was triangulated across data collection methods. The children made friends with others who had similar language competence in German, even though they were younger, and did not share the same first language. Becoming bilingual impacted the children’s friendship formation and socialization opportunities with more competent language users. Children highlighted being excluded from activities and strategies for inclusion and forming friendships in bilingual environments.