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Förskolans pedagogiska praktik: Ett verksamhetsperspektiv
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth education, Special Education and Counselling.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The pedagogical practice in preschools : In a perspective of activity (English)
Abstract [en]

Since 1960s, preschools have been important parts both of Swedish welfare and of labour market policies. The preschool thus constitutes a very important site for rearing and educating young children.

Reforms of the Swedish preschool in the 1990s concerning both accessibility and quality were introduced at a time when the economy of the municipalities dramatically deteriorated because of reductions in State subsidies. The strained economy of the State and the municipalities, has resulted, among other things, in a growing number of children in preschool groups and pressure to change organization and pedagogical content. These changes took place in a time of decentralization where the responsibility for organization of preschools was given to the municipalities. Changes in economy, organization and curriculum form the background for this study.

The purpose of the study is to examine and understand how preschool working teams shape and realize the pedagogical practice and how working conditions affect this process. The approach of the study is interpretative, where the interpretative perspective is mainly represented by activity theory and theories of cultural reproduction. Three aspects of the actions are observed: the object of the actions, the instruments mediating the actions and the content of mediating actions. Bernstein’s concepts classification and framing are used as tools in analysing the empirical data.

The interpretative, empirical study is based on qualitative data collected mainly by observations and interviews. Three preschools are chosen for the study. The preschools in the study are located in two municipalities in the north of Sweden, representing three different environments. All preschools receive children one to five years old. The personnel consist of preschool teachers and childminders working in teams. Eleven of them where interviewed.

The study shows that daily routines both shape and restrict practices in preschools. The work is mainly focused on care giving, where the children are supposed to adapt to and subordinate themselves to the norms and to the existing routines. The children’s influence varies between organized activities, where they have little influence, and play time, where they can choose what to do. It also varies between the preschools, where the preschool with children from more affluent families have more freedom than children from the multicultural, lower-income environment do.

The work is collectively oriented toward training adaptation, but also, to a certain extent, training for autonomy and responsibility taking. Organization of learning activities often takes the form of transmitting information. The informants regard themselves as caregivers with the main purpose to mediate security and create conditions for the children to develop socially.

The changes in conditions emanating from political decisions have brought new working tasks to the preschools and have reduced the level of resources at the same time as the demands made are experienced as being harder. This creates frustration and tends to result in lower levels of ambition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för barn- och ungdomspedagogik, specialpedagogik och vägledning, Umeå universitet , 2007. , 217 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar inom den Nationella Forskarskolan i Pedagogiskt Arbete, ISSN 1653-6894 ; 5Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 12
Keyword [en]
pedagogical practice, childcare, preschool education, learning, rearing, preschool working teams, preschool teachers, childminders, working conditions, societal changes
National Category
Pedagogical Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-992ISBN: 91-7264-241-6OAI: diva2:145316
Barn- och ungdomspedagogik, specialpedagogik och vägledning, 90187, Umeå
Public defence
2007-02-23, Hörsal A, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 00:00 (English)
Available from: 2007-02-02 Created: 2007-02-02 Last updated: 2015-02-05Bibliographically approved

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