Children, Media and Playground Cultures: Ethnographic by Dr Rebekah Willett;Dr Chris Richards;Professor Jackie

By Dr Rebekah Willett;Dr Chris Richards;Professor Jackie Marsh;Professor Andrew Burn;Dr Julia C Bishop

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The chapter starts with a descriptive account of the two research sites, including a discussion of the different forms of regulation and physical resources of the two schools. Next, the chapter discusses our classification of games and rhymes – an adaptation of Bishop and Curtis’s classification which we further developed to reflect the nature of the data collected from our two playgrounds (Curtis, 2001). The bulk of this chapter is devoted to an analysis of a survey conducted in both schools which asked children (aged 5–11) about the games and activities they play on the playgrounds.

The metaphor of sedimentation, while it productively suggests the layering of cultural residues and the historical resonance of contemporary culture and communication, is inadequate on its own to invoke the processes of innovation. We turn, therefore, to two accounts which propose a combination of processes of sedimentation and innovation. The first is found in Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of language, in which sedimented forms of language become an essential element of lived language: the repositories and residues of sedimented language become the context for creativity in speaking and expressing (Bourgeois, 2002: 370).

Christopher Hatton Primary School is a tall Victorian building located in the Kings Cross area in London with 220 pupils on roll. It has a multi-ethnic, multilingual population with 21 minority ethnic groups represented (68 per cent of the children spoke a language other than English as their first language, and 26 per cent were on refugee status). The latest Ofsted report (2007a: 3) commented: ‘Overall, the social circumstances of many pupils are disadvantaged and this is reflected in the exceptionally high proportion of pupils that are entitled to free school meals .

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