Children have represented the future prolongation of our societies and therefore have been taught to replicate the material and intellectual conditions that are considered to survival. How we think and understand children matters inordinately because our views and theories affect how societies engage with children in day to day practice.
Yet, what is childhood?
The dictionary definition of Webster continues by “the early period in development of something”. It can be argued that childhood is that stage in life that is accessed by adults retrospectively, a beautiful experience that can be tapped through memory which is then – conceptualized by several layers viz. parents, social groups, kin-groups…
Several sociologists of childhood have affirmed that childhood is a structural category alongside with others, may be social class, ethnic origin, gender etc. To what extent have we considered the interaction of those different variables and their influence on how childhood is represented in different cultures and contexts?
Multiple childhood on other hand refers to different kind of childhood seen through various parameters as:
- Differently able children
- Economically backward children
- Survival of child abuse
- Child labor
Also, research into child poverty have provided a change in our understandings as we begin to listen more to the views of children. The research has been more quantitative giving us figures (based on analysis of statistics). For instance, we have been concerned with the number of children living below poverty lines. So acknowledging diverse childhood is essential.
Even the definition of “who” is a “child” can produce major differences of opinions or perceptions. Some of the problems that arise as methodological or psychological turn around the puzzle of children’s subjectivity. Multiple childhood is still indeterminate for teachers and educators. More and more practical and conceptualized approach for better understanding has to be lifted up. Further, the various cultural and intellectual perspectives on the nature of childhood need to be addressed as well, in order to engage with the questions: “what” is childhood, “who” is a child?