An Ethnographic Approach To Peer Culture In A Turkish Preschool Classroom

Main Article Content

Betul Yanık Mustafa Yasar


The purpose of this study is to examine the features of the peer culture that a group of preschoolers created in their classroom in the province of Kahramanmaraş, Turkey. An ethnographic approach was adopted in this study to obtain an in-depth understanding of children’s peer interactions. The data were collected through variety of data collection methods such as participant observation, interviews, document analysis, and researcher diary for three months period. 20 children, the classroom teacher and the other school staff participated in the study. Descriptive and qualitative content analyses were conducted to analyze the data. The results suggest that the children formed a complex culture through symbols and games to negotiate about the features of day to day interactions in the classroom. In addition, the children resisted against the influences of the teacher by turning places like the washroom and the cafeteria into a nesting area for a deeper level of personal interaction.    


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
YANIK, Betul; YASAR, Mustafa. An Ethnographic Approach To Peer Culture In A Turkish Preschool Classroom. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 4, p. 489-496, apr. 2018. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 23 apr. 2018.


Bauer, K. L. & Dettore, E. (1997). Superhero play: What's a teacher to do? Early Childhood Education Journal, 25(1), 17-21.
Bodrova, E., & Leong, J., D. (2005). Uniquely preschool: What research tells us about the ways young children learn. Educational Leadership. 63(1) 44-47.
Boyd, B. J. (1997). Teacher response to superhero play: To ban or not to ban? Childhood Education, 74(1), 23-28.
Carlsson-Paige, N. & Levin, D. E. (1987). The War Play Dilemma: Balancing Needs and Values in the Early Childhood Classroom. Teachers College Press, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
Cohen, A. P. (1984) Informants. In R.F. Ellen (Ed.), Ethnographic research: A guide to general Conduct (pp. 223-229). London: Academic Press.
Corsaro, W., (1985). Friendship and peer culture in the early years. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Corsaro, W., (1992). Interpretive reproduction in children’s peer cultures. Social Psychology Quarterly, 55, 160-177
Corsaro, W., (2003). “We’re friends, right?” Inside kids’ culture. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press
Corsaro, W., (2015). The sociology of childhood . (Fourth Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Corsaro, W., & Molinari, L., (2005). I compagni: Understanding children’s transition from preschool to elementary school. New York: Teachers College Press.
Corsaro, W., & Molinari, L., (2006). From seggiolini to discussione: the generation and extension of peer culture among Italian preschool children. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 3(3), 213-230.
Corsaro, W., & Rizzo, T. (1990). Disputes in the peer culture of American and Italian nursery school children. In A. Grimshaw (Ed.), Conflict talk (pp.21-66). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2000) Introduction: The discipline and practice of qualitative research. N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds) Handbook of qualitative research. Second Edition. (1-30) Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Doğanay, J. (1998). Anasınıfına devam eden çocukların ebeveynlerinin çocuk oyun ve oyuncakları hakkındaki görüşlerinin incelenmesi [An investigation of the views of parents whose children attend kindergarten regarding children’s play and toy preferences] . Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Ankara Üniversitesi Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü: Ankara.
Doliopoulou, E. (1998). Preschool children's war play: How do Greek teachers and parents cope with it ?. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 6(1), 73-86.
Erickson, F. (1984). What makes school ethnography ‘Ethnographic’? Anthropology and Education Quarterly,15(1), 51-66.
Erşan, Ş. (2011). Okul öncesi eğitim kurumlarında görev yapan öğretmenlerin ilgi köşelerinde serbest oyun etkinlikleri ile ilgili görüş ve uygulamalarının incelenmesi [An investigation of the views and practices of preschool teachers on free time activities in interest corners in the classroom]. Doktora Tezi, Gazi Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Enstitüsü: Ankara
Fernie, D., Davies, McMurray, P.B., & Kantor, R., (2006). Becoming a person in the preschool: Creating integrated gender, school culture, and peer culture positionings. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 6, 95-110
Galbraith, S., J.(2007). Multiple perspectives on superhero play in an early childhood classroom. Unpublished Dissertation, Graduate School Of The Ohio State University.
Garvey, C. (1984). Children’s talk. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Gaskins, S., Miller, P. J., Corsaro, W. A. (1992). Theoretical and methodological perspectives in the interpretive study of children. New Directions for Child Development, 58
Geertz, C. (2006). Kültürlerin yorumlanması [The interpretation of cultures]. (Çev. Hakan Gür) Ankara: Dost Kitapevi.
Goodwin, M. (2006). The hidden life of girls: Games of stance, status and exclusion. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Gülay, H. (2010). Okul öncesi dönemde akran ilişkileri [Peer relationships in preschool period]. Ankara: Pegem Akademi
Hadley, K. (2003). Children’s word play: Resisting and accommodating Confucian values in a Taiwanese kindergarten classroom. Sociology of Education, 76, 193-208
Hammersley, M. & Atkinson, P. (1983). Ethnography. Principles in practice (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.
Hoyte, F., Torr, J., & Degotardi, S. (2014). The language of friendship: Genre in the conversations of preschool children. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 12(1), 20-34.
Inan, Z. (2011). Özel okul öncesi eğitim kurumları yönetici ve öğretmenlerinin oyun seçimi hakkındaki görüşleri [The views of private preschool administrators and teachers on children’s choice of play]. Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Yeditepe Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü: İstanbul.
Kaytez, N. & Durualp, E. (2014). Türkiye’de okul öncesinde oyun ile ilgili yapılan lisansüstü tezlerin incelenmesi [An investigation on thesis conducted in Turkey on preschool
children’s play]. Uluslararası Türk Eğitim Bilimleri Dergisi, 2 (2). 110-122.
Kol, S. (2006). Okul öncesi öğretmenleri ile yöneticilerinin bilgisayar destekli oyun programlarının kullanımına yönelik algı ve beklentileri. [The perception and expectation of preschool teachers and administrators on the use of computer supported game programs]Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Sakarya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü: Sakarya.
Lincoln, Y. S. & Guba, E. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Maggs-Rapport, F.(2000). Combining methodological approaches in research: ethnography and interpretive phenomenology Journal of Advanced Nursing, 31(1), 219-225.
Madrid, S. (2007). Emotional themes in preschool children's play narratives. Unpublished dissertation. The Ohio State University. Retrieved from
Moon, M. (2001). Teacher perspectives on peer relation problems of young children. Asia Pacific Education Review, 2(1), 22-31.
Pramling, N. & Samuelsson, P. I. (2013). Language play: The development of linguistic consciousness and creative speech in early childhood education. In I. Schousboe & D.W. Lindqvist (Eds), Children’s play and development: Cultural-historical perspectives (pp.127-139). London: Springer
Prout, A. (2005). The future of childhood. London: Routledge. Rogers, S. & Evans, J. (2008). Inside role-play in early childhood education: Researching young children's perspectives. New York: Routledge.
Sebanc, A. M. (2003). The friendship features of preschool children: Links with prosocial behavior and aggression. Social Development, 12(2), 249-268.
Skånfors, L., Löfdahl, A. & Hägglund, S. (2009). Hidden spaces and places in the preschool: Withdrawal strategies in preschool children's peer cultures. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 7(1), 94-109.
Stone, A., L. (2008). Superhero play among preschool children. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. The Faculty Of Humboldt State University.
Şahin, F. (1993). Üç-altı yaş grubu çocuklarının anne babalarının çocuk oyun ve oyuncakları hakkındaki görüşlerinin incelenmesi [An investigation on views of parents whose children are in ages between three and six on children’s play and toy preferences] Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Hacettepe Üniversitesi, Ankara.
Wilson, R. (2012). Nature and young children: Encouraging creative play and learning in natural environments. New York: Routledge.