Worlding and Unworlding in Early Childhood Research Practices

“We cannot think first and act afterwards. From the moment of birth, we are immersed in action”



Ann Merete Otterstad and Camilla Andersen visited MMU from Norway on their way to the ECQI conference in Edinburgh earlier this month. Their session for the arts based methods series involved working with different materials and theories to interrogate how to do research in early childhood education.

  • How do we counter the dominant narratives about childhood and early childhood education in our context?
  • What is it to be or become a subject in the world?


Ann and Camilla proposed that in order to do process ontology research, we must go beyond the body’s longing to understand and to know, working instead with what unfolds as we are immersed in action with the world. As a group, we experimented with these ideas using bags full of natural materials.


Something that was very striking about the session was the role of theory within this work. Ann Merete pondered, after so many decades of working with young children – why did I not see things this way earlier? She concluded she needed theories – different kinds of theories that made different ways of thinking about the world and new thoughts possible, even after such a long time working with and researching with young children.


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