Från komplexa frågor till konkret innehåll – hållbar utveckling ur ett förskoledidaktiskt perspektiv

Svedäng, M., Halvars, B., Elfström, I., & Unga, J.
Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige, 23(3-4), 235–261


The article highlights trains of thought, attitudes and didactic strategies linked to sustainable development in kindergarten teachers participating in Pre-school Didactic Rooms (Förskoledidaktiska rum) – a network for discussion and reflection on science and sustainable development, which has been developed at Stockholm University in collaboration with kindergartens in the Stockholm area.

The purpose of the article is to investigate how kindergarten educators relate to questions about the environment and sustainability, with a specific focus on the didactic challenges that may arise when teaching about sustainable development in kindergarten. Another purpose is to highlight how a network such as Pre-school Didactic Rooms can be used by the participants and what impact the network can have on their professional development in terms of sustainable development work in kindergartens.

Research question:

  1. What trains of thought, attitudes and didactic strategies relating to the work on environmental and sustainability issues in kindergarten emerge from the educators’ conversations and discussions in the Pre-school Didactic Rooms network?
  2. What type of roles does a network like Pre-school Didactic Rooms play in the educators’ professional development in terms of their sustainable development work in kindergartens?


The results show that kindergarten teachers conduct deliberate and serious sustainable development work in kindergartens and that they use several different didactic tools, often aesthetic and creative, to concretise abstract sustainability issues. The kindergarten teachers express great confidence in the children’s abilities to reflect, be creative and solve problems. Ideas and thoughts from Pre-school Didactic Rooms were realised in kindergartens’ everyday work and kindergarten teachers shared their new knowledge and ideas with colleagues.


In order to highlight the educators’ trains of thought and attitudes towards sustainable development work in kindergartens, and whether, and if so, how, participation in Pre-school Didactic Rooms affects this work, the researchers have based their work on a participatory action research design.

The empirical data material was generated through audio recordings and field notes of group conversations in four parallel groups in connection with three Pre-school Didactic Rooms, which were conducted during the autumn of 2015 and the spring of 2016. Mostly the same participants took part in the three documented meetings, but the group composition varied from time to time. The groups were constantly encouraged to ‘mingle’ as much as possible, which led to the discussion groups consisting of 8–10 active kindergarten educators, management personnel from different kindergartens and in some groups, students from the kindergarten teacher programme. In addition, a researcher participated in each group. The researcher acted as a discussion leader but remained relatively passive in this role and allowed the discussions to develop according to the participants’ wishes and interests. Each group discussion lasted approximately 60 minutes, resulting in approximately twelve hours of recorded conversations.


Svedäng, M., Halvars, B., Elfström, I., & Unga, J. (2018). “Från komplexa frågor till konkret innehåll – hållbar utveckling ur ett förskoledidaktiskt perspektiv”. Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige, 23(3-4), 235–261.