Dětská skupina jako kolektivita
Toddler group as a collectivity
The aim of this study is to examine the everyday life of day-care institutions and the culture of peer relationships that develop there. Interdisciplinary studies of childhood perceive it as a social construct separable from biological immaturity, and they describe a distinct toddler style of socialisation with peers. In this paradigm, participation in cultural routines is central to understanding child socialisation. Based on ethnographic observations in two facilities and interviews with teachers and parents, we explore relationships between peers, social routines, and the creation of collectivity. We focus on the perspective of adults and their perception of the children's collective and on the meanings of children's interactions. The analyses reveal that as well as socialising in hierarchical relationships with adults they also actively participate in cultural reproduction through the interpretation of meanings. What constitutes 'play' when socialising with adults becomes 'something real' when it occurs between physical and cognitive equals. Interaction with peers in a day-care facility allows a child to experience a collective 'WE', through which they are then able to to control adults. However, the creation of collectivity depends on their being conditions in place that are suitable for small children and toddlers.