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A cross-cultural study on factors affecting children's agentic action in their play

dc.contributor.authorRentzou, Konstantina
dc.contributor.authorSlutsky, Ruslan
dc.contributor.authorGol–Guven, Mine
dc.contributor.authorKragh-Müller, Grethe
dc.contributor.authorTuul, Maire
dc.contributor.authorPaz-Albo, Jesús
dc.identifier.citationRentzou, K., Slutsky, R., Gol-Guven, M., Kragh-Müller, G., Tuul. M., & Paz-Albo, J. (2023). A cross-cultural study on factors affecting children's agentic action in their play. International Journal of Early Childhood, 55(1), 89-112.
dc.description.abstractPlay, and especially free play, offers a unique opportunity for children to act with agency. Yet the regulated and routinized structure of early childhood education and care settings, impedes children’s agentic action which is limited by adult-imposed rules. The present cross-cultural study aims to explore the extent to which Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) systems in seven countries are enabling children to be agentic and provide opportunities for children’s agency development during play. Specifically, founded on the rationale that in the context of an ECEC setting the notion of agency is interconnected with the notion of freedom, the present study aims at exploring through the responses of 187 early childhood educators from seven countries, children’s prerogative to choose how, where and with whom to play, which resources to use in their play, how much time to spend on play and the extent to which adults’ rules limit children’s opportunities to exercise agency and control. In addition, the study aims at exploring if and how educators’ and children’s characteristics affect the opportunities for agentic action. Results highlight that although children’s autonomy and their right to participate in shaping their experiences in the ECEC setting are valued and acknowledged across countries, their agentic action is not equally supported in all seven countries. Specifically, although ECEC systems in some of the countries are characterized by an ethos of agency, in the majority of them children are not viewed as real co-constructors of their play
dc.rightsThis version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record. The Version of Record has been published in the International Journal of Early Childhood on 2023 (Vol. 55, 89-112) and is available online at:
dc.subjectFree playes
dc.subjectFree choicees
dc.subjectEarly childhood education and carees
dc.subjectCross-cultural studyes
dc.titleA cross-cultural study on factors affecting children's agentic action in their playes

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