Transitions in outdoor playtime in kindergarten – opportunities and resistances

Hanne Værum Sørensen, Åsta Birkeland, Min He

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Transition is an important aspect of children’s lives. Transitions can relate to large changes i.e. when a child leave kindergarten to attend school it is a transition between qualitative different institutions, with major influence for children. Children also experience minor transitions during the everyday life in kindergarten, i.e. between indoor and outdoor activities, and between activities in different activity settings. Some kindergarten consider children’s competency in smooth transitions as a key skill and some kindergarten value other aspects of transitions. The aim in this case study is to identify how transitions during the day in kindergarten provide conditions for children’s activities, as it is an overseen phenomenon in early childhood research. The research question is therefore: How do the transitions from indoor to the outdoor playtime interplay with children’s learning and development in different national settings with different traditions related to family and community life? This research uses a cultural-historical approach and draw on Hedegaard’s (2009) concepts of development and cultural formation as an individual, institutional and societal process and Hedegaard and Fleer’s concept of transitions (2019). We use three cases of transitions in one kindergarten in Norway and two kindergartens in China. Research methods are participant observations, video and photos from the playgrounds and interviews with the teachers. The dialectical interplay between the transition and children’s engagement in outdoor activities is the unit of analysis. Preliminary findings indicate that the transitions in the outdoor activity setting are influenced by the time regulation and conditions in kindergartens and to societal and institutional values. This paper provides knowledge about the transitions in kindergarten and illustrates the interplay between institutional transitions and children’s activities.
Translated title of the contributionOvergange i udetiden i børnehaven, muligheder og forhindringer
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateAug 2021
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Aug 2021
EventISCAR 2020: 6th Congress of the International Society of Cultural-historical Activity Research: Cultural-historical Activity Research in crises contexts: challenges and perspectives - Natal, Brazil, Natal, Brazil
Duration: 24 Aug 202029 Aug 2020


ConferenceISCAR 2020
LocationNatal, Brazil
Internet address

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