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"Man ska låta barnen leka!": En studie av vårdnadshavares konstruktioner av förskolebarnet
Södertörn University, Teacher Education.
2018 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
”You should let the children play!” : A study of guardians’ constructions of the preschool child (English)
Abstract [en]

A number of studies have been published concerning preschool teachers’ child perspectives. Over the past 50 years the construction of the preschool child in Swedish preschool policy documents have deve­loped from mainly depicting a dependent, immature, becoming child to a more rational, competent, being child. But what about the guardians’ child perspectives? Have they changed in a similar way?

The aim of this study is to add to the understanding of the preschool-home cooperation, through exami­ning guardians’ constructions of the preschool child and how the constructions may influence their needs and expectations of what preschools have to offer.

The method used to obtain data for analysis was qualitative interviews. Five guardians were interviewed and the audiotapes transcribed verbatim. Both audio and text were studied multiple times to discern pat-terns, expressions that could be interpreted as representing specific constructions of the preschool child. The theoretical framework for the study is social constructionism. In short, social constructionism is part of the post modern movement that unites in its’ critique of universal truths. Instead, knowledge is looked upon as constructed in a specific context, such as time and culture. In this study this means a belief in that there is no one, universal child but a number of views of what children are. The data was analyzed through different accepted constructions of children.

The results showed four different constructions of the preschool child that could be interpreted from the interviews; the unchangeable, the curious knowledger, the social and the playing. In terms of needs and expectations, the guardians are likely to have very different views of what preschools should offer de­pending on which construction they express. Many of the quotes depict the child as a primarily social being, which is coherent with previous research on guardians’ views of preschool.

The results of the study implicates that guardians come to the preschool context with a wide range of different constructions of what a preschool child is and what it needs. There is, at least in theory, often a gap between the perceived child that preschool is made for by policy documents and teachers and the percieved child by the guardians. To ensure that the cooperation between preschool and families works as good as possible, professionals in preschool need to be humble to this fact and understand that the different expectations and demands we experience from guardians are rooted in more than plain opinions and whimsicality. Namely, a firm belief in what is best for the children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 30
Keywords [en]
the preschool child, guardians, social constructionism, child perspectives, preschool-home cooperation
Keywords [sv]
förskolebarnet, vårdnadshavare, socialkonstruktionism, barnsyn, förskola-hem
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-35621OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-35621DiVA, id: diva2:1218757
Subject / course
Pre-school education
Uppsok
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-15 Created: 2018-06-14 Last updated: 2018-06-15Bibliographically approved

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