Kiasmefortellinger – fortelleruttrykk av og for de yngste i barnehagen i et kunstnerisk utforskende multimodalt perspektiv

Olaussen, I. O.


Even the smallest children tell stories. The stories come before the words do, and they are created in play and interaction. In her doctoral thesis, Ingvild Olsen Olaussen investigates the youngest children’s skills in structure and use of aesthetic devices when they tell stories and have stories told to them.

The youngest children, toddlers, use a wide and varied sign landscape when playing - alone or with others. This forms the basis for dramaturgical patterns; children’s play and companionship also construct stories. Through bodily-linguistic narrative expressions, children participate in advanced social interactions, where they both express and receive opinions and fantasies. The doctoral work focuses on bodily meaning-making, both when the children’s expressions are being investigated and when the narrator’s expressions are in focus.

The main thesis statement is: What characterises the narrative expressions of and for the youngest kindergarten children, seen from an artistically investigative multimodal perspective?


The most important findings in this study are related to the knowledge of young children’s bodily expression of narratives, their sense of story and their bodily understanding of the structure of the story and its dramaturgy, made visible in playful storytelling events. The dissertation also refers to a range of bodily-linguistic, multimodal narrative expressions played out among the youngest children and adults in early childhood education and care settings in an interweaving of telling and being told, and, touching and being touched. 


The dissertation is article-based and consists of four articles, each with a different focus. The first looks at how the youngest children shape their stories. The second is a methodological article that investigates whether art forms can contribute to understanding a piece of research material. The third article describes how an adult and a child negotiate regarding the structure and content of a story. In the fourth article, the narrator investigates different ways of telling a story, where the goal is an approach to toddlers’ bodily-linguistic interaction.

The study is based on a body-phenomenological perspective inspired by Merleau-Ponty’s thinking. The data material consists of observations of 1-3-year-olds’ interactions and play, which were collected at a toddler department and in a domestic arena. The material consists of video and participatory observation.


Olaussen, I.O. (2018). “Kiasmefortellinger – fortelleruttrykk av og for de yngste i barnehagen i et kunstnerisk utforskende multimodalt perspektiv”. Akademsik avhandling. NTNU.