Infant agency in ECEC mealtimes

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    In an era where the image of the child embraces infants, toddlers and young children as capable and competent members of society, this research aims to explore infant agency during mealtimes in early childhood education settings, asking the question: ‘How do infants perform multimodal agentic actions when strapped into a highchair?’
    The importance of infant-led feeding (Brown & Arnott, 2014) and infant development of taste, including acknowledging their communication of pleasurable eating experiences (Wiggins & Keevallik, 2020; Wiggins, 2023) are being explored. Here we will look at footage recorded during one week in April this year (2023) in an early childhood setting in Mid-Wales. We will focus on an exploration of how the highchair ‘space’ is broadened through throwing food outside of the immediate locality, and how reaching for food on a neighbour’s highchair actively extends the restricted highchair space. Discusion possibilities include how agency is performed in multimodal expressions, as well as considering how present teachers ‘notice, recognise and respond’ to infant actions in ways that support agency.

    Brown, A., & Arnott, B. (2014). Breastfeeding duration and early parenting behaviour: The importance of an infant-led, responsive style. PloS one, 9(2), e83893.
    Wiggins, S.(2023). How infant food likes become established as knowledge: Parental food
    assessments during infant mealtimes in the home. Appetite. 184, 106489.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUCLA Co-op Lab
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 18 Oct 2023
    EventUniversity of California Los Angeles co-operative action laboratory - UCLA online, LA, United States
    Duration: 18 Oct 2023 → …


    SeminarUniversity of California Los Angeles co-operative action laboratory
    Abbreviated titleUCLA Co-op Lab
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Period18/10/23 → …
    Internet address


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