Barns erfarenheter av sociala gemenskaper i övergångarna till och från förskoleklass

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Barns erfarenheter av sociala gemenskaper i övergångarna till och från förskoleklass

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Barns erfarenheter av sociala gemenskaper i övergångarna till och från förskoleklass
Author(s) Ackesjö, Helena ; Persson, Sven
Date 2014
English abstract
Summary Helena Ackesjö & Sven Persson: Children’s experiences of social communities in the transitions to and from preschool class. The focus of this study is children's transitions to and from preschool class, which in Sweden is a voluntary first year in school. The exit from preschool and entry to school may in many ways be regarded as a critical event in the child's life, and international research shows that nearly half of the children are concerned about this transition. Research has also suggested that a good socio-emotional foundation provides better conditions for learning in the primary school years. The aim of this study is therefore to gain knowledge about how children reason about the transitions to and from preschool class, and how transitions affect children's peer relationships and belonging in social communities. Wenger's theory of communities of practice is used to understand the impact of transitions from children’s perspective. Communities of practices are based on common actions and are, according to Wenger's definition, focused around maintaining a mutual engagement in common activities. Wenger theory has also been used to understand and analyze various forms of communities. We use the general term social community to describe the affiliation (belonging according to Wenger's terminology) that children describe that they experience with other children in an institutional context. In Wenger's theory, the border concept is central. Social communities are constructed and given meaning in different ways depending on how the borders are marked, and depending on who is included or excluded. Based on this theory, the transitions to and from preschool class become transitions between different social communities. The empirical data have been constructed during a longitudinal ethnographic field work that spanned over 18 months - over two transitions between three different school forms (preschool, preschool class and school). The study has an ambition to place the child's own contributions and experiences of transitions in the foreground, and we use the concept of children's perspectives as their opinions and experiences are described. The empirical data consists of interviews, individual conversations and group discussions about peer relationships in the transitions, conducted with the children in the three different school forms. In addition, observations of certain critical events have been analyzed. The results show the important role that peer relationships have for the children in transitions between different school forms. Children's groups are scattered in each transition to a new school form, indicating that the children are moving in different directions. The results therefore indicate that transitions are not always to be characterized as collective processes. The transitions involve processes of continuity and discontinuity, since the conditions for children's participation and position in social communities are changing. Continuity and discontinuity in transitions are perceived differently by different children, and are given different meanings depending on how the children consider and understand themselves. The transitions require children to re-orient themselves in new social communities and physical rooms. The discontinuities in transitions therefore requires a form of increased reflexivity i.e. children are forced, for better or worse, to reflect on themselves as individuals. Physical discontinuity is often positive experienced and associated with anticipation and excitement by children. This can be related to the knowledge of "starting something new". In the transition to preschool class, the preschool environment is replaced with school environment, and several of the children expressed that this means new opportunities and challenges for them. However, the social discontinuity seems to place other demands on children. Each transition and entry into a new context, and into a new group of children, involves a re-orientation and a re-definition of both themselves and of their affiliations. For most children this is no problem, but some children describe that they have lost their reference points in the transitions. The separation from the old community can be difficult to handle. These children have been separated from a perceived affiliation and social community in preschool, and describe how difficult it can be to enter into new communities in new school forms. Several of the children describe that almost every spring semester in preschool (as well as in preschool class) have resulted in separations and breakups. Thus, the beginning of the autumn terms has been characterized by new entries and adjustments to new children and new teachers - breakups have become a part of children's institutional lives. In their search for strategies to manage the social discontinuity, the children uses past experiences. Some children have conquered what we call transition competences based on past experiences, which they use when seeking new social communities in new school forms. Previous research has shown that children who start school with peers can get a head start in learning, because peers adds a sense of belonging and continuity when many other things are changing. Based on the results of this study, it may be appropriate to further consider how it is possible to prevent or eliminate involuntary interruptions in children's important relationships during transitions. This study has shown that children care about their relationships and they express a need for social continuity. To "belong" is from a child's perspective important in transitions.
Swedish abstract
Tidigare forskning har visat att splittringar i barns relationer är en negativ faktor för barn i övergången från förskola till skola. Syftet med denna studie är att vinna kunskap om hur barn resonerar om övergångarna till och från förskoleklassen, och hur övergångarna inverkar på barnens kamratrelationer och tillhörighet i sociala gemenskaper. Studien är en etnografisk longitudinell studie, där samtal med barnen under 1,5 år i tre olika skolformer utgör det empiriska fundamentet. Resultaten visar att övergångar mellan skolformer innebär en relationell påfrestning för barn, där deras upplevelse av tillhörighet i sociala gemenskaper sätts på prov. I studien presenteras två aspekter av diskontinuitet mellan skolformer; den sociala och den fysiskt rumsliga. I linje med studiens resultat finns fog att vidare reflektera över hur barns tillhörighet i sociala gemenskaper villkoras av ständiga förändringar i gruppsammansättningar i samband med övergångarna, och hur det kan vara möjligt att förebygga ofrivilliga avbrott i barns relationer. I studien framstår förskoleklassen som en plats med begränsade möjligheter för sociala gemenskaper – ett år av övergångar till och övergångar från. Det kan därför vara relevant att vidare reflektera över förskoleklassens uppdrag att främja barns sociala gemenskaper.
Publisher Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, Göteborgs universitet
Host/Issue Pedagogisk forskning i Sverige;1
Volume 19
ISSN 1401-6788
Pages 5-30
Language swe (iso)
Subject(s) preschool classes
children´s experiences
social communities
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
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