First Advisor

Will Parnell

Term of Graduation

Spring 2019

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Reggio Emilia approach (Early childhood education), Early childhood educators, Group identity in art, Identity (Psychology) in children



Physical Description

1 online resource (xi, 358 pages)


Mainstream approaches to identity studies in early childhood education (ECE) are problematic from both social constructivist and early childhood education for sustainability perspectives. Mainstream approaches are influenced by behaviorist theories of developmental psychology literature which privilege individual identity, whereas emerging discourses in identity theory trend toward discussing the multiplicity of social identities. Alternatively, and in contrast to traditional behaviorist and cognitive learning theories, cultural centers like Reggio Emilia, Italy’s Remida Creative Recycling Center promote reuse material projects that socially construct identities in Reggio’s Municipal Infant/Toddler Centers and Preprimary Schools by giving value to waste materials through offering such materials in young children’s work and thinking. For the purposes of this research study, I embarked on a quest to understand what early childhood educators’ experiences of socially constructing identity studies with young children meant to them.

As a narrative inquirer, I conducted dyadic interviews and focus group discussion over the course of three two-hour sessions to illuminate six early childhood educator’s experiences of socially constructing identity studies with young children as a Remida-inspired educator. The first two dyadic narrative sessions document participants' reuse collages, Remida-inspired documentation, and narrative data that highlight professional formation patterns, metaphors and unique points of view or ‘Hidden Treasures’ that emerged during the interviews. Throughout the three sessions, at the end of each inquiry, I use a re-storying method to summarize key points made by all the participants and to express multiple perspectives through a collective voice. As researcher, I employed Anzaldua’s (1987) concept of “Borderlands” to develop an understanding of early childhood educator’s experiences of socially constructing identity studies with young children as a Remida- inspired educator.

Although each participant’s experiences were unique, patterns came into view which are interpreted through Katz (1972) framework for developmental stages of preschool teachers: survival, consolidation, renewal, and maturity. These growth patterns are further aligned with three corresponding archetypal stages of Remida-inspired identity studies that emerged from the collage and interview process, namely, (a) Identifying with Reggio Emilia philosophies: The Forager, (b) Identifying with Remida: The Global Homesteader and (c) Socially Constructing Identity Studies: The Navigator. Additionally, nine Hidden Treasures became visible from each stage including, Children’s Identities are More Fluid, and Remida Materials Support Constructivist Identity Studies. These Hidden Treasures illuminate participants experiences and are synthesized with a Borderlands framework as affirmation of an image of the child as a global ecological citizen, capable of understanding and expressing more complex features of social identities.


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