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Saudi children's views of learning center activities in their kindergarten classroom : a case study Khoja, Nazeeha Samir


The purpose of this research was to investigate: (1) Saudi kindergarten children’s views of learning center activities in their classroom, and the degree to which the children’s views were reflected in their everyday experiences; and (2) the children’s perceptions of themselves as learners within the classroom environment. This research is grounded in social constructivist theory, in particular, Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory and Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological theory of human development. The site of this qualitative case study was a kindergarten classroom in an urban city in Saudi Arabia; the study used three main data sources: digital photographs taken by the children, photo-elicited interviews, and children’s drawings. Children’s comments on their drawings were a secondary source of data. Participants were six children between the ages of five and six; their participation included taking photographs, discussing their photographs, participating in two drawing tasks, and commenting on their drawings. The data was analyzed using the constant comparative method. Categories of analysis were combined across the data, resulting in nine categories representing the questions posed by the researcher and the topics raised by the children. These categories were then collapsed into five themes: preferences for open-ended activities and the outdoor environment; constructing gender identity and learner identity; experimenting with perspectives; negotiating and managing social relationships; and bridging home and school. The photographs taken by the participants showed the different perspectives through which children experiment and play in center time, and their interest in their social worlds. Moreover, the data reveal children’s assumptions about their gender and learner identities, which reflect beliefs held in the Saudi culture.

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