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Playing at the edges: use of playground spaces in South Australian primary schools with new arrivals programmes

Author(s): C. Due | D. W. Riggs

Journal: Social Geography Discussions
ISSN 1816-1499

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2010;
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There is a large body of work that documents the ongoing marginalisation of refugees and other migrants from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds (NESB) in Australia. Much of this work has discussed the way in which the Australian space is constructed according to a particular set of "values" to which NESB migrants and refugees must adhere if they are to be seen as "belonging" in the country. For refugee and migrant children, the construction of space in this way is frequently encountered within the schools into which they are placed in order to learn English in New Arrivals Programmes (NAPs). This paper uses a multi-method approach to examine the use of space in two primary schools in which there are NAPs. The paper considers the way in which NAP and non-NAP children utilise playground spaces, and compares and contrasts these observations which the views of teachers at the schools. The paper concludes that the marginalisation of NESB refugees and migrants in the broader Australian community is reflected in the primary school space, in which it is difficult for NAP children to claim space as their own. Finally, suggestions based on this research are offered for ways in which schools could become more inclusive, and more reflective of their position in a global society. Future research in this area could include a more detailed analysis of the power relations between NAP children and their classmates as they exit the program, and could also incorporate a larger cross-section of schools.
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