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Toddlers as social actors in the Swedish preschool
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on interaction among young toddlers during their second year of life in a Swedish preschool. The overall aim of this thesis was to explore interaction, communication and the creation of friendship between the young children during self initiated play activities. In addition, this thesis presents the background of Early Childhood Education in Sweden, which may serve as an extended context for the study.

An ethnographic study was carried out in a toddler unit with 15 children. Six one year old girls and boys were in focus during the observations for nine months. Participatory methods, photos, fieldnotes and videorecordings, were used for the data collection.

The theoretical framework for the study is built on phenomenology, the view of the child as a social person and a child oriented perspective. The overall findings support a theoretical perspective where the young toddlers are seen as social actors, with social competencies. Their play invitation strategies, as well as their play enactment and play-closing moves, were mostly found to be based on nonverbal communication such as movements, gestures, voice quality and facial expressions. The competencies of attunement, taking others’ perspectives and turn-taking were found in play among the young toddlers, and they also showed negotiating skills while playing.

The findings also show how young toddlers make friends. During their second year of life, they monitor and pay attention to individual peers, displaying intentionality and agency by spontaneously greeting their peers, by offering play invitations, and by helping peers. Mutual awareness, joint attention, shared smiles, coordinated movements, as well as other types of synchronized actions are seen as parts of nonverbal elements in emerging friendship.

The findings in this thesis support an understanding of young toddlers as social persons in the preschool, engaged in consistent interest and attention towards each other while playing.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingens fokus är hur små barn interagerar med varandra under sitt andra levnadsår i en svensk förskola. Det övergripande syftet var att undersöka interaktion, kommunikation och skapandet av vänskap mellan yngre toddlare under lekstunder då barnen hade möjligheter att ta egna initiativ. Lek betraktas som en rik arena för studier av toddlares samspel. Avhandlingen presenterar även svensk förskolas utveckling som en bakgrund som placerar in den enskilda förskolan i ett större sammanhang.

En etnografisk studie genomfördes på en småbarnsavdelning med 15 barn i åldrarna ett till tre år. Sex ettåriga flickor och pojkar fokuserades särskilt genom observationer under nio månader. Deltagande observationer, fotografier, fältanteckningar och videoobservationer, användes för datainsamlingen.

Teoretiskt vilar studien på fenomenologi, synen på barn som sociala personer och ett barnperspektiv. Resultaten stöder ett teoretiskt perspektiv där mycket små barn betraktas som sociala aktörer med social kompetens. Deras initiativ till lek, under lek och avslut av lek byggde framför allt på icke-verbal kommunikation, som exempelvis rörelse, gester, röstkvalitet och ansiktsuttryck. Barnen visade i sin lek förmåga till intoning, att ta andras perspektiv och turtagning samt att de förhandlade med varandra under lekens gång.

Resultaten visar också hur yngre toddlare bygger vänskap. Ettåringarna uppmärksammar sina kamrater även som individer, exempelvis genom att spontant hälsa på dem, bjuda in till en särskild lek och genom att hjälpa varandra. I skapandet av vänskap använde barnen sig av icke-verbala handlingar i form av ömsesidig och gemensamt riktad uppmärksamhet, smittande leenden och koordinerade rörelser, vilka kan tolkas som intentionellt agerande.

Sammanfattningsvis visar resultaten att små barn under sitt andra levnadsår kan betraktas som sociala personer som i leken i förskolan intresserar sig för och uppmärksammar varandra.

Place, publisher, year, pages
Stockholm: Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University, 2011. 93 p.
Keyword [en]
toddlers, one year olds, preschool, play, interaction, friendship, communication, phenomenology, social person, agency
Keyword [sv]
småbarn, toddlare, ettåringar, förskola, lek, interaktion, vänskap, kommunikation, fenomenologi, social person
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-52643 (URN)978-91-7447-193-9 (ISBN)oai:DiVA.org:su-52643 (OAI)diva2:391762 (DiVA)
Public defence
2011-02-25, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Accepted. Available from2011-02-03 Created:2011-01-17 Last updated:2011-02-07Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Toddler interaction during play in the Swedish preschool
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Toddler interaction during play in the Swedish preschool
2011 (English)In: Early Child Development and Care, ISSN 0300-4430, E-ISSN 1476-8275, Vol. 181, no 10, 1421-1439Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on how children aged 17-24 months initiate play and interact with their peers during self-initiated play in preschools. Play is looked upon as a rich arena for observing toddler interaction. The ethnographic study was carried out in a toddler unit with 15 children. Six one year old girls and boys were observed during five weeks at the end of a longer research period. The study follows a phenomenological tradition with participatory observations and video recordings. The overall findings support a theoretical perspective where very young children are seen as social actors, with social competences. Play invitation strategies, as well as play enactment and play closing moves, were mostly found to be based on nonverbal communication like locomotion, gestures, physical actions and facial expressions. This study also shows that the competence of taking others’ perspectives was found recurrently in play among younger children. Furthermore, the young children used negotiating skills during their play.

Publisher, range
London: Gordon and Breach Publishers, 2011
Keyword
toddlers, preschool, interaction, play, communication, phenomenology
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-52892 (URN)10.1080/03004430.2010.533269 (DOI)
Available from2011-01-19 Created:2011-01-19 Last updated:2012-10-11Bibliographically approved
2. Doing Friendship during the Second Year of Life in a Swedish Preschool
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Doing Friendship during the Second Year of Life in a Swedish Preschool
2012 (English)In: European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, ISSN 1350-293X, E-ISSN 1752-1807, Vol. 20, no 1, 83-98Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A number of studies within early childhood education and care indicate the importance of social competence. This article focuses on how friendship is created among very young children in Swedish preschools. The study was carried out within a toddler unit with 15 children. Six 1-year-old children, three girls and three boys, were observed during nine months. The ethnographic method follows a phenomenological tradition with participatory observations, including field notes, photos and video recordings. The findings show how young toddlers create friendships: 1-year-olds monitor and pay attention to individual peers, displaying intentionality and agency by spontaneously greeting their peers, by offering play invitations, and by helping peers. Mutual awareness, joint attention, shared smiles, coordinated locomotion, as well as other types of synchronized actions are parts of non-verbal elements in emerging friendship. One pedagogical implication of this study is to take young children's friendship into account when putting together preschool groups.

Keyword
toddlers, one-year-olds, preschool, friendship, phenomenology, coordinated action
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-52903 (URN)10.1080/1350293X.2012.650013 (DOI)000305058600007 ()
Available from2011-01-19 Created:2011-01-19 Last updated:2012-10-12Bibliographically approved
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