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To be free and to belong: the views of children with and without special educational needs about what matters for them in their early school years
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2396-4710
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3282-5635
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to investigate children’s perspectives, both of those children with and without special educational needs, of their early years education and to describe matters that children consider to be of importance for their well-being and development during these years. The study is part of a larger study (Lundqvist, 2016) in which the same group of children was followed from preschool to first grade. A total of 56 children, between 5 and 7 years of age, in 65 educational settings in Sweden were included in the study. Twenty-nine children were described as having special educational needs. The children’s views of what matters for them in their early school years were collected during 2012 to 2015 using drawings and interviews, and analysed with a thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Research ethics in research with children (Siljehag, 2015) are discussed. Nine themes were identified that reflected matters of importance for the children as well as needs and values. In order to thrive in early years education, the children needed to have a sense of belonging with peers; opportunities for play, creative activities and thinking; experiences of speed, excitement and physical challenges; elements of coziness, withdrawals and comfort for recreation; to feel safe; to experience growth in knowledge and understanding of the world; to feel free and autonomous; to have comfort objects and bonds with home and family; and to connect with nature. These themes are discussed and linked to previous research (e.g., Allodi Westling, 2002), educational evaluation models (i.e., the ECERS-R and the ICP), and theories of needs and motivational values such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2008) and Schwartz’s model of universal human values (Schwartz, 2012). Theoretical frameworks of the study are these theories of needs and values. The results of the study cannot be generalised in terms of other children or contexts. The study has relevance on Nordic educational research because it can form a basis for discussion needs and values of children and facilitate the development of educational settings that meet the needs of children, contribute to their well-being and are experienced as joyful and meaningful by them. Allodi Westling, M. (2002). Children’s experiences of school: Narratives of Swedish children with and without learning difficulties. Scandinavian Journal of Education Research, 46(2), 181-205. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development and health. Canadian Psychology, 49(3), 182-185. Lundqvist, J. (2016). Educational pathways and transitions in the early school years: special educational needs, support provisions and inclusive education. Diss. (sammanfattning) Stockholm: Stockholms universitet, 2016. Stockholm. Schwartz, S. H. (2012). An Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values. Psychology and Culture, 2(1), 1-20. Siljehag, E. (2015). Research ethics in research with children. In B. Qvarsell, C. Hällström, & A. Wallin (Eds.), The problematic ethic. Views of children in research and practice (pp. 117-142). Göteborg: Daidalos förlag.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154360OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-154360DiVA, id: diva2:1193001
Conference
The 46th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA), Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges, Oslo, Norway, 8-10 March 2018
Note

The conference programme did not include authors 2 and 3 by mistake.

Available from: 2018-03-25 Created: 2018-03-25 Last updated: 2018-03-26Bibliographically approved

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