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Education Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 371831, 8 pages
Research Article

Self-Transcendence Values, Relationships, and Participatory Practice in Early Childhood Education

Department of Early Childhood Education, Levinsky College of Education, P.O. Box 48130, Tel Aviv 61481, Israel

Received 13 March 2014; Revised 11 May 2014; Accepted 14 May 2014; Published 17 July 2014

Academic Editor: Marco Innamorati

Copyright © 2014 Clodie Tal. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study seeks to reveal the circumstances that encourage versus those that block children’s participation in the context of daily teacher-children encounters in preschools in Israel. Six cases were selected for analysis—three in which children’s participation was enabled and three in which children’s participation was blocked by teachers or student-teachers. Participants in the study were five student-teachers doing fieldwork as part of their professional preparation as well as two teachers. Analysis yielded the following conclusions: meaningful participation takes place in the context of a personal, caring relationship with an educator. For challenging situations that require decisions about enabling or denying children’s participation, self-transcendence values need to be activated by student-teachers or teachers. Activation of these values is the outcome of personal mental struggle, which is strengthened by having clear, articulated goals to include children in guided and nonguided social encounters. This study suggests that a teacher’s espousal of self-transcendence values is among the attributes that have an impact on teachers’ representations of relationships, their interactions with children, and the children’s participation in daily, preschool social encounters, whose quality may in turn affect the relationships with children. Documentation and critical reflection need to be incorporated into educational practice so that decision-making in challenging situations will be the product of thorough deliberation.