An outsider in the nursery

Rustin, Margaret, Adamo, Simonetta M G and Pantaleo, Cira (2013) An outsider in the nursery. Infant Observation: The International Journal of Infant Observation and Its Applications, 16 (3). pp. 230-243. ISSN 1369-8036

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The paper is focused on an observation presented in a Young Child Observation Seminar that was held in Naples, Italy. The nursery school where the observation took place was dominated by a culture and organisation which combined to offer the young children a very impoverished experience that flattened, instead of promoting, the growth and development of their personality. The observed boy, who is called Pietro in the paper, fought to keep alive his imagination and his strong attachment to good inner objects. This resulted in his being marginalised and being cast in the role of the outsider. Subsequently he became the scapegoat of the whole class group and was used as receptacle for all the needs and feelings the group endeavoured to deny. The observation over two years also permitted the observer to see the birth of a more friendly atmosphere and a kind of counter-culture among the group of children in Pietro's class. The paper illuminates some specific additional aspects of young child observation: the study of institutions for children and the understanding of children's group dynamics. The paper is also a tribute to Margaret Rustin, describing her approach to leading seminars in young child observation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 06 Dec 2013
Uncontrolled Keywords: Young Child Observation, Nursery Culture, Imagination, Group Dynamics, Resilience, Inner Parental Figures
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Care Services
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Psychotherapy
Department/People: Honorary Staff

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