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Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 125–132 | Cite as

Nature of Interactions Among Young Children and Adult Caregivers in a Children’s Museum

  • Caitlin McMunn Dooley
  • Meghan M. Welch
Article

Abstract

This naturalistic, qualitative study examines the nature of child- and adult-led interactions in a children’s museum. Using dialogic learning as a theoretical framework, the study examines how children and adults engage in interactions while learning at a museum. Findings suggest that children and adults are almost equally likely to lead interactions; however, most child-led interactions are qualitatively different from adult-led interactions. Children are more likely to show-and-tell about their experiences and learn by asking questions and commenting about their play. Adults are more likely to teach by telling, prompting, and reporting a child’s activities. Children and adults also are equally engage in pretend play during their interactions. Leveraging these findings, recommendations are made for museum exhibit space design.

Keywords

Child–adult interactions Informal learning Museum Child-led Adult-led Dialogic learning 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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