Naturorienterad utbildning i förskolan: Pragmatiska undersökningar av meningsskapandets individuella, sociala och kulturella dimensioner.

Klaar, S.
Ph.d.-afhandling. Örebro universitet, Örebro.


The overall purpose of this study is to elucidate what happens when children aged 1-3 years in Swedish daycare centres (förskola) encounter nature. Furthermore, the objective is to develop and illustrate approaches enabling didactic studies of children's meaning-making in daycare centre practices.


The results are presented as four separate sub-studies. The first sub-study shows that physical meaning-making can be studied and analysed by observing a child's actions and consequences of actions. An example of this is how a child who acts with a clear goal (tries to reach the top of a hill) experiences the consequences (slides down) and then changes his/her actions, so they create new and changed consequences (walks up the hill in a different way). Consequently, the child's experiences will have an impact on his/her daily life and constitute a learning experience, even though the child has not created a verbal or conceptual understanding of (in this situation) friction.

Through analyses, the second sub-study identifies five local and collective habitual actions in early childhood educators; i.e. habits which are no longer questioned and are carried out without hesitation. These habitual actions are to 1) make sure that all children are dressed properly for outdoor activities, 2) offer the children many toys and a large number of artefacts to choose from, 3) encourage children to play with different natural materials, 4) help children who ask for help, but encourage other children to manage for themselves and 5) allow the children themselves to decide where they want to play. These local habitual actions constitute much of the local daycare-centre practice, and the analysis shows that through dressing, free choice of toys, activities and own creative ideas, the children are given ample opportunity to form their own opinion about nature as something nice and positive. However, the study finds that there are limited possibilities for the child to obtain a more conceptual knowledge of natural sciences as well as knowledge about unknown natural phenomena as it is more difficult for the child to discover these aspects on its own.

The third sub-study indicates that teaching and learning are directed processes, in which the early childhood educators guide the children's learning by using different instructions; admonishing instructions (the early childhood educator admonishes the child in order to encourage it to act differently, and the child changes his/her actions to what is allowed) and challenging instructions (the early childhood educator challenges the child by showing new and, to the child, unknown behaviour on the basis of which the child acts).

The fourth sub-study is about a reflection tool for pedagogical documentation which can make visible relationships between the child's meaning-making and pedagogical work. The reflection tool consists of three parts which together illustrate individual, social and cultural dimensions of meaning-making, and each have associated reflection questions. The first part of the tool focusses on learning content and the child's meaning-making learning processes. The second part focusses on the role of the early childhood educator, whereas the third part focusses on traditions (e.g. local habitual actions) and consequences of meaning-making in the daycare-centre culture.


The empirical material of the study consists of video footage of 40 daycare-centre children and their early childhood educators. The video footage focusses on the children's encounters with nature. The data was collected between January and September 2009. The study consists of four sub-studies in which the empirical material was analysed on the basis of different focus areas. The first sub-study uses a practical epistemological analysis to examine physical meaning-making by studying actions and the consequences of actions. The second sub-study develops a context-driven analysis in order to examine how Swedish daycare-centre culture contributes to children's meaning-making in connection with nature. The third sub-study uses an epistemological motion analysis as well as a learning quality analysis to examine early childhood educators' understanding of children's meaning-making processes. The fourth sub-study merges and adjusts the analysis methodologies from the other three sub-studies in order to develop a tool for early childhood educators to use in their reflexive work with pedagogical documentation at daycare centres.


Klaar, S. (2013). Naturorienterad utbildning i förskolan: Pragmatiska undersökningar av meningsskapandets individuella, sociala och kulturella dimensioner. Ph.d.-afhandling. Örebro universitet, Örebro.

Financed by

Not disclosed