The Politics of Belonging: Educators' Interpretations of Communities, Positions, and Borders in Preschool.

Berge, A., Johansson, E.


The aim of the study is to increase knowledge about belonging in Norwegian kindergartens by exploring how kindergarten employees describe, interpret and assess processes of belonging in their pedagogical practice. The research question is: How do educators experience and describe processes of belonging in their kindergarten practice?


The results show that the kindergarten staff had a desire to create a strong and inclusive community where all children and parents are included. This community represented the dominant culture and values of society. The researchers also identified other types of communities in kindergartens, including communities related to immigrant families/immigrant children and various religious communities. These different communities created challenges for both children and educators, as the educators wanted to be loyal to the kindergarten community while feeling empathy for children who found themselves between their families and the kindergarten community. The study suggests that categorising children and parents in kindergarten may lead to potential exclusion and alienation rather than promoting belonging and inclusion.


21 kindergarten teachers and skilled workers from three kindergartens in the southern part of Western Norway participated in the study. The researchers conducted five group interviews to find out how the staff perceived and described processes related to belonging and community in their kindergarten. The interview material was then analysed in light of Yuval-Davis' theoretical framework "The politics of belonging".


Berge, A., & Johansson, E. (2021). “The Politics of Belonging: Educators' Interpretations of Communities, Positions, and Borders in Preschool”. International Research in Early Childhood Education, 11(2):24-40.

Financed by

NordForsk, Nordic region