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Children's meaning-making of nature in an outdoor-oriented and democratic Swedish preschool practice
University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.
School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.
2014 (English)In: European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, ISSN 1350-293X, E-ISSN 1752-1807, Vol. 22, no 2, p. 229-253Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research has shown that the Swedish preschool educational tradition is characterised by outdoor-oriented and democratic approaches. The purpose of this study is to empirically investigate what consequences these approaches have for preschool children's meaning-making of nature, when studied in practice, in children's spontaneous outdoor activities. The methodology is based on John Dewey's pragmatism with a specific focus on transaction, habits and customs. A transactional analysis method has been developed to fulfil the purpose of the investigation. The analysis illuminates relations between: (1) the Swedish preschool's educational tradition in terms of national customs; and (2) the local customs expressed in practice. Fifty-seven events were chosen for further analysis including play with water and sand, and sliding on snow. Consequences for children's meaning-making of nature are shown as possibilities for experience-based inquiry based on children's own choices and also for enjoying and feeling good in nature. The results show fewer possibilities for scientific concept learning. The results can thus be seen as a contribution to the early childhood educational discussion about how to arrange learning situations of natural phenomena and processes in preschools and at the same time maintain their democratic/outdoor-oriented characteristics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge , 2014. Vol. 22, no 2, p. 229-253
Keywords [en]
outdoor, democracy, Swedish preschool, culture, pragmatism, meaning-making
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16611DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2014.883721ISI: 000334334300007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84898972839OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-16611DiVA, id: diva2:1287132
Available from: 2019-02-08 Created: 2019-02-08 Last updated: 2019-11-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Naturorienterad utbildning i förskolan: pragmatiska undersökningar av meningsskapandets individuella, sociala och kulturella dimensioner
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Naturorienterad utbildning i förskolan: pragmatiska undersökningar av meningsskapandets individuella, sociala och kulturella dimensioner
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall purpose of this thesis is to investigate, illuminate and clarify meaning making processes and content when children between the ages of 1-3 encounter nature in a preschool practice. Further, the aim is to develop and illustrate action-centred methodological approaches that facilitate investigations of individual, social and cultural dimensions of preschool children’s meaning making of nature. The results are presented in four substudies that all take their starting points in John Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy, with a specific focus on Dewey’s concept of transactions, his theory of action and educative experience as meaning making. In the first substudy, a Practical Epistemology Analysis (PEA) is developed and used to investigate physical meaning making by studying actions and the consequences of these actions. In the second sub-study, a Custom Analysis is developed to facilitate investigations of how the preschool culture contributes to children’s meaning making of nature. An Epistemological Move Analysis (EMA) is used in the third sub-study for investigations relating to teachers’ guiding processes. Here, a Substantive Learning Quality Analysis (SLQA) is also developed and used for investigations of multi-dimensional learning qualities in children’s learning about nature. In the fourth substudy, the analysis methods above are refined to form a tool that can be used by teachers in their reflective work with pedagogical documentation in preschool practice. The results illuminate a multifaceted perspective of meaning making about nature. In this context, meaning making includes cognitive, physical, moral and aesthetical qualities, and nature content includes caring for nature, health and well being in nature and knowledge about natural phenomena and processes. The results contribute to a critical discussion about preschool science education that concerns how preschool practices can highlight nature learning and the multifaceted aspects that are of importance for making meaning of the environment and of life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2013. p. 121 (tot 232)
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Humanities and Social sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-8377 (URN)978-91-7668-910-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-01-18, Örebro universitet, Prismahuset, Hörsal P2, ÖrebroFakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Två av fyra delarbeten (övriga se rubriken Delarbeten)

3: Doing, knowing, caring and feeling: exploring relations between nature-oriented teaching and preschool children’s learning

4: Verksamhetsorienterad dokumentation i förskolans praktik: ett didaktiskt reflektionsverktyg

Available from: 2013-08-08 Created: 2013-08-08 Last updated: 2019-02-08Bibliographically approved

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Klaar, Susanne

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