Entrepreneurial Learning in Education: Preschool as a Take-Off for the Entrepreneurial Self.

Axelsson, K.
Hägglund, S.
Sandberg, A.
Journal of Education and Training 2(2), 40-58.


The purpose of this study is to examine the pedagogical practices supporting or impeding development of entrepreneurial skills in children at a Swedish preschool. In addition to examining the characteristics of the phenomenon of entrepreneurship as such, the study seeks to shed light on different perceptions of the concept in order to gain more knowledge about stimulation of an entrepreneurial culture in preschool settings. The authors thus wish to create a deeper understanding of how to develop entrepreneurial practices, as Swedish preschools are increasingly expected to promote children’s entrepreneurial skills. Furthermore, the study attempts to add subtlety and detail to the societal debate about introducing pedagogical initiatives early on, in order to further entrepreneurship, and on this basis the study takes a critical stance on whether mass production of entrepreneurs is a desirable or necessary scenario for society.


The results of the study are presented under four main themes, which are linked to the phenomenon of entrepreneurship in various ways. These themes are formulated on the basis of the following general trends in the overall data material: (1) ongoing reflection, (2) active participation, (3) meaningful learning situations, and (4) a tolerant atmosphere. Under the theme of 'ongoing reflection', the study shows, among other things, that the preschool teachers’ work with the entrepreneurial theme affected their respective work methods. At the same time, the preschool teachers indicate that the programme has increased their motivation for reflecting critically on their own practice in various learning situations. The theme of 'active participation' captures the relationship between activities controlled by adults and by children. The study shows that activities controlled by children have a positive effect on the development of children’s entrepreneurial skills. Another crucial factor in children’s acquisition of entrepreneurial skills is the creation of 'meaningful learning situations'. For example, the study shows that activities initiated primarily through the children’s own will and interest have a positive effect on entrepreneurial learning. Finally, the authors emphasise the theme of a 'tolerant atmosphere', which is assessed to play a role in the general well-being of both children and preschool teachers. With respect to stimulation of children’s entrepreneurial skills, the study finds that creation of open environments, with room for experimental activities, seems to have a particularly positive effect on learning outcome. Finally, the study points to a number of less successful situations with respect to stimulating children’s entrepreneurial skills, for example practices characterised by unreflective and routine pedagogical work.


The study was designed as a case study with participation of five preschool teachers from a Swedish preschool. All the teachers were women with work experience ranging from 13 to 30 years. The participants were recruited after a course focusing on children’s entrepreneurial skills. During the data collection process, the participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire, and subsequently an in-depth qualitative interview was conducted with one of the participating preschool teachers. The interview was supplemented by video footage, on which the teacher was asked to comment during the interview.



Axelsson, K., Hägglund, S. & Sandberg, A. (2015). Entrepreneurial Learning in Education: Preschool as a Take-Off for the Entrepreneurial Self. Journal of Education and Training 2(2), 40-58.

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