Peer Culture and Adult-Child Relations

William A. Corsaro

The article at hand addresses adult-child relations, comparing them in two settings – Italy and the United States. More specifically, I will be investigating family and community relations with the children and school institutions. A longitudinal ethnography in Italy, conducted with a colleague, permitted us to focus on the children’s transitions from preschool to elementary school and even into middle school. When comparing the Italian outcomes (where children normally stay in the same group with the same teacher) with my earlier work in American preschools (where children normally change groups and teachers), I became more aware of the vital role which teachers, parents, community leaders, and volunteers play in supporting the peer cultures of young children. Therefore, this article will share insights gathered by comparing my observations and experiences in Italy and the USA, looking first at teachers, then considering family members, and ultimately the general community. Among other things, special notice will be taken of time schedules, emotions and bonding, free play, field trips, civic engagement, etc. This discussion will close with some reflections on my own relationship with the children and my own contributions to their peer cultures in my role as a researcher, as an adult, and as a friend in their lives.
Słowa kluczowe: adult-child relations, peer culture, transitions, preschool, elementary school, community, participatory action research

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