Master of Arts
Foregrounding moments from an early child care centre, this thesis employs a multispecies ethnography methodology to explore the opportunities children from a preschool class have to encounter the more-than-human in the ecological epoch of the Anthropocene. Drawing on a posthuman and common worlds theoretical framework, this thesis works to explore children/more-than-human entanglements that occur in a local, urban cemetery space while challenging practices of human exceptionalism in the field of early childhood education. Participants in the study included one preschool class of 16 three to four-year-old children and the diverse nonhuman residents of the cemetery space. Using a diffractive method of analysis, five data-stories tracing distinct multispecies encounters explore how the radical more-than-human turn is present and impactful at a local level, reshaping approaches to early childhood education in a community in Southern Ontario. This thesis concludes that the children express collective being and thinking within non-innocent, local, multispecies assemblages in unpredictable ways. It is through these complex entanglements children are experimenting with learning to live amid the inescapable relations within their common worlds.
Black, Sarah Kathleen, "Exploring Young Children's Encounters with the More-Than-Human: A Multispecies Ethnography" (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6198.