Democratic, caring and disciplinary values in Danish preschools: Bringing values together

Ole Henrik Hansen, Stig Broström, Anders Skriver Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Teachers and caregivers organize children’s everyday life in early childhood settings to support children’s well-being, learning and development. Teachers’ organizational decisions (e.g. daily schedule, arrangement of furnishings, activities, behavioural expectations) are influenced by a set of ideas, norms and values which they may or may not be conscious of at the time. The purpose of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of how democratic, caring and disciplinary values are communicated and negotiated between adults and children (from birth to five) in crèche and preschool settings, with particular attention to whether these values are animated in isolation (e.g. separately from one another) or in a more unified fashion. The conceptual framework for this study is based on previous theories and research on democracy education, communicative action, educational content and children’s democratic formation, caring values and disciplinary values. The researchers analysed video recordings of interactions between children and teachers during lunch, circle time and free activities. The findings reveal the nature and extent to which teachers expect children to follow and participate in the social order that adults have established for them, as well as ways in which empathic practitioners create space for children to influence changes in the social order.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Issues in Early Childhood
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)340-355
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • learning, educational science and teaching
  • preschools


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