Micro-transitions in outdoor playtime in kindergarten: Conditions for children’s exploration and cultural formation

Hanne Værum Sørensen, Åsta Birkeland, Min He

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiForskningpeer review


Transitions are important aspects of children’s lives. Transitions can relate to significant changes. For example, when a child leaves kindergarten to attend school, it is a transition between qualitatively different institutions, and this experience has a major influence on children. Children also experience micro-transitions during their everyday lives in kindergarten, i.e. going from indoor to outdoor activities and shifting between activities in the activity setting of outdoor playtime. Some kindergartens consider children’s competency in smooth transitions a key skill, and other kindergartens value other aspects of transitions. The aim of this case study is to identify how micro-transitions in kindergarten provide conditions for children’s explorative activities and thereby their cultural formation. This is a neglected phenomenon in early childhood research. The research question is as follows: how do the micro-transitions related to the activity setting of outdoor playtime interplay with children’s exploration in different institutional settings with different traditions related to community policies and values? This research uses a cultural-historical approach and draws on Hedegaard’s (2009) concepts of development and cultural formation as an individual, institutional and societal process; Hedegaard and Fleer’s concept of transitions (2019); and Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope of the threshold. We use cases of transitions in three kindergartens situated in China and Norway. The research methods are participant observations, videos and photos taken on the playgrounds. The dialectical interplay between the transitions and the children’s engagement in outdoor activities is the unit of analysis. The findings indicate that the transitions in the outdoor activity setting are influenced by time regulation and conditions in the kindergartens, as well as by societal and institutional values. This chapter provides knowledge about micro-transitions in kindergarten and illustrates the interplay between institutional transitions and children’s exploratory activities.
TitelStudies of Exploration in Childhood Education: Cultures of play and learning in transition
RedaktørerMariane Hedegaard, Marilyn Fleer, Elin Eriksen Ødegaard, Hanne Værum Sørensen
ForlagBloomsbury Academic
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2021


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