Research on working theories: Hedges and Cooper (2014)

Well it’s been a while – happy new year, welcome to 2016 and the year of the monkey. I’ve had a busy start to the year and no time to get to my blog but have been encouraged by greater numbers of people gradually accessing it – and hopefully reading its posts. So that has provided some incentive to keep it up this year.

The Inquiring minds, meaningful responses: Children’s interest, inquiries and working theories project was a follow-up to my earlier small-scale study. It was funded by the Ministry of Education through the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative fund. Small Kauri ECE Centre and Myers Park KiNZ generously agreed to continue on the working theories journey and to explore other ideas about children’s interests and inquiries too.

The title of the project was the working title of my PhD and a manuscript that never saw the light of day so I was very excited to use it at last. It has been interesting to see the idea of “meaningful responses” being spoken about and written recently as an alternative to “planning” which has been a word many early childhood teachers don’t identify with well.

I was delighted to have Maria Cooper along for the ride as co-researcher – her expertise in infant and toddler pedagogy and her reputation and relationships with teachers in the sector is superb. Together with our teacher-researchers we generated an enormous amount of data that enabled us to make our best efforts to delve into children’s worlds, understandings and thinking.

music-818459__180An important aspect of the study was the selection of children and families that the teachers visited in their family homes to gain further insights. This meant the project aligned with the original intentions of projects employing funds of knowledge as a framing as visits to family homes were an important aspect of the associated methodology.

Rather than provide a summary of our project, I invite you to access the final report written for a practitioner audience. Future posts will explore some of the findings, presentations and publications in more depth by sharing snippets of these.

Hedges, H., & Cooper, M. (2014). Inquiring minds, meaningful responses: Children’s interest, inquiries and working theories. Final report to Teaching and Learning Research Initiative. Retrieved from


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