Children's Strategies for Agency in Preschool.

Markström, A.-M.; Hallden, G.
Children & Society, 23(2), S. 112-122.


This study focuses on how children, in their interaction with one another and with social pedagogues, are able to influence and to be contributing players in creating their daily lives, which unfold within the frameworks of daycare centres. Daycare centres are considered an important factor for children’s upbringing, as they spend many hours at daycare centres every day. There are different views on daycare centres; these can be perceived as restrictive and institutionalising, or they can be perceived as stimulating and developing. The study investigates tension fields between these two perceptions by examining everyday life from the children’s perspectives. 


Focus of the study was to examine the practices that construct the daycare centre. Through empirical data extraction, the study gives an expression of different everyday practices at the daycare centre. Examples show how children, despite concepts such as “free play”, are subject to certain routines, rhythms and social orders at daycare centres. However, examples also show how children are able to take control in a scheduled day by negotiating, neglecting or breaking with the routines of adults. Authors argue that the perception of daycare centres depends on the perspective used: Whether it be the child perspective or adult perspective. The study shows how children pick up these strategies, which in a pragmatic way enables them to resist the institutional discourse, and instead enables them to control and influence their everyday lives.


The ethnographic methodology is used to explore children’s strategies with regard to being able to influence, defend and
construct the social order at daycare centres. Data collection was qualitative and consists of observations from two daycare centres with children from zero-five years.


Markström, A.-M.; Hallden, G. (2009). Children's Strategies for Agency in Preschool. Children & Society, 23(2), S. 112-122.

Financed by

Not mentioned