Transitory moments in infant/toddler play: Agentic imagination

Avis Ridgway, Liang Li, Gloria Quinones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    Studying relationships in infant/toddler play, using visual narrative methodology to identify transitory moments, supports our current research on babies and toddlers. We use Vygotsky’s theorisation of play to understand children’s affective and intellectual aspirations in play. The theoretical discussion, using cultural-historical concepts, argues for identification of transitory moments as turning points for learning. Through examining transitory moments in screen capture snapshots from video, researchers illustrate the actual worlds of infant/toddler play where personal and collective meaning, and affect and resolution, are created and located. Our study of infant/toddler relationships in play reveals several transitory moments reflecting imaginative thought in action: agentic imagination. A case example from Long Day Care brings visual narrative together with a dialogue commentary to provide meaning of the playful circumstances in which babies’ and toddlers’ “affective incentives” (Vygotsky, this issue, p. 9) are realised and resolved in imaginary situations. This paper addresses a gap existing in pedagogical awareness of what transitory moments in play can mean for infant/toddler learning and development in early childhood education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)91-110
    Number of pages20
    JournalInternational Research in Early Childhood Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Transitory moments
    • infant/toddler play
    • cultural-historical theory
    • visual narrative
    • agentic imagination
    • dialogue commentary

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