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Characteristics of Swedish preschools that provide education and care to children with special educational needs
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.
2016 (English)In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 31, no 1, 124-139 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, preschool inclusion is embraced and preschools are open for children both with and without special educational needs. The purpose of this study was to examine the characteristics of a number of preschool units in Sweden that provide education and care to children with special educational needs with regard to organisation, resources and quality. The purpose was also to provide reflections on the usefulness of different structured observation rating scales designed to assess preschool quality. Eight preschool units located in four Swedish districts were visited. A total of sixteen 5-year-old children with special educational needs/disability and forty typically developing children of the same age participated. The data sources were structured observation rating scales (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Caregiver Interaction Scale and Inclusive Classroom Profile), ABILITIES Index questionnaire, unstructured observation, interviews, conversations and documents. Two overall typologies of preschool units were identified: the comprehensive units enrolled children with various special educational needs/disability, while the specialised units enrolled children with the same disability. The staff resources were greater in the specialised units. The overall quality in the observed units ranged from low to good. In units educating children with a disability diagnosis, the quality was never low. None of the preschool units was scored as having a good inclusive environment. The structured observation rating scales complemented each other and covered, in part, different quality aspects of the units. The study shows that there is a large variation in quality between the units and that there is a need to further develop the quality of the preschool units and of the services for children with special educational needs in Swedish preschools.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 31, no 1, 124-139 p.
Keyword [en]
Disability, early childhood education and care, inclusive education, multiple-case study, preschool, special educational needs
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120350DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2015.1108041ISI: 000366856800009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-120350DiVA: diva2:851852
Available from: 2015-09-07 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Educational pathways and transitions in the early school years: Special educational needs, support provisions and inclusive education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Educational pathways and transitions in the early school years: Special educational needs, support provisions and inclusive education
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this research is to describe and analyse the educational pathways from preschool to school of a group of children with and without special educational needs. The aim is also to describe and analyse children’s views and experiences of early years education, and how these can be obtained.

The research comprises six studies that are presented in four articles and two conference papers. Longitudinal and multiple-case study designs, and mixed method approaches are adopted in the empirical studies, and the data is collected via observations, a questionnaire, documents, conversations and interviews with staff, children’s drawings and interviews with children.

The results from the empirical studies show a variation of pathways to compulsory education; changes in activities and relationships in the transitions; a variation in preschool quality; a broad conceptualising of special educational needs; an application of comprehensive or specialised typologies in the educational settings; an undecided and cautious attitude toward inclusive education; an allocation of generous resources to specialised and segregated programmes; and a diversity of support provisions. The children report more positive than negative experiences of their early school years and pinpoint the importance of having a sense of belonging among peers; opportunities for creative play and thinking; experiences of speed, excitement and physical challenges; elements of cosiness, withdrawals and comfort for recreation; experiences of growth in knowledge and understanding of the world; feeling safe; feeling free and autonomous; and preventing homesickness in order to thrive.

The results of the literature review are that the researchers may obtain data from children with and without special educational needs by means of traditional and innovative data collection methods. For broadening participation and sharing of views, the researchers may offer relational and material support.

The thesis has relevance for researchers in the field of special education, inclusive education and early childhood education and care. It has also relevance for teacher training, policy makers and stakeholders, school heads, teachers and families.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Special Education, Stockholm University, 2016. 136 p.
Keyword
bioecological model, children’s views, disability, drawings, first grade, inclusive education, leisure-time centre, longitudinal, mixed method, multiple-case study, preschool, preschool-class, special education, support, transitions
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-126011 (URN)978-91-7649-309-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-03-11, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, 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 6: Submitted.

Available from: 2016-02-17 Created: 2016-01-21 Last updated: 2017-02-20Bibliographically approved

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