(a) According to Te Whariki, children construct working theories as they observe, listen, discuss, take part and represent their understandings in their everyday lives.
Rogoff et al. (2003) describe this as children 's intent observation and participation in everyday cultural activities with the goal of later involvement as effective contributors. Working theories are therefore "increasingly useful for making sense of the world, for giving the child control over what happens, for problem-solving, and for further learning" (Ministry of Education, 1996, p. 44). Working theories are visible, tangible outcomes of children 's developing knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Two valued cultural activities are parenting and being a "good friend". Several children in the research project articulated working theories about where babies come from and how to care for them. Eve (4) said: "You can grow a baby in your tummy ... my mummy had a baby and it 's me", and Amber (3) said:
"Look, I have a baby in my tummy, it 's not popped yet." They also reflected their working theories in their dramatic/fantasy play, when they fed, cuddled and took care of their dolls. Similarly, in relation to caring for others, Dihini (4) comforted her friend who had just fallen over, and went with her to find an icepack. In other data, Dihini 's play repeatedly focused on friends and friendships. Therefore, in this episode we believe she was demonstrating her working theories about how friends look after each other, as well as indicating some early knowledge of first aid.
(b) Working theories...
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...zle, imagine, consider and think through their ideas and understandings. In doing so, they clarify and negotiate understandings about what constitutes acceptable and effective participation in their communities and cultures.
For example, many children in the research were engaged in developing working theories about identity based on gender differences. Some children had very strong ideas about appropriate behavior for boys or girls, likely influenced by cultural understandings. Isabella (4), for instance, brought up in a traditional Chinese extended family, was adamant that daddies are not allowed to take care of or even carry babies, only mummies and nanas. This was disputed by Jade (4), whose experiences and working theories were obviously different. She challenged Isabella 's theory by saying to her: "But boys can look after babies because my brother babysat me."
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