14 SES 11 B, School Related Transitions across Cultural Contexts
It is well known and goes without saying that children’s education and transitions during pre-school age are important for their both immediate and long term development, and it is also known that these early educational transitions are not much studied. In Sweden there is limited knowledge about early educational pathways and learning journeys, in particular from parents’ views.
The aim of the study was to investigate and analyze how a group of parents, of children with and without support needs in preschool and preschool class, describe their children, their children’s learning environments, their children’s educational transitions, and their own cooperation with the staff in preschool and preschool class. Research questions were: How are the children’s characteristics and abilities described? How are the learning environments, the educational transitions between these and the collaboration between home and learning environment described? Are there different parent ideal type approaches when describing the learning environments, the transitions and the cooperation with staff?
It is worth studying parents’ views on children’s education and transition during pre-school age since such a study can contribute with descriptions, insights and implications for those who work in early school years and for policy makers. The study may facilitate their planning of high quality and meaningful early education and care, as well as a stress-free transition both for the children and their parents.
The preschool starts the education system in Sweden (Svensk författningssamling [SFS], 2010:800; Swedish National Agency for Education [SNAE], 2011a). Its task is to complement the home and its mission is to offer children - also those in need of support for different reasons - rich opportunities for play, learning and development, and also to cooperate with the parents. Sweden is ranked as a country with a very high quality preschool for children aged one to five years old. The second step in the Swedish education system is called preschool class (SFS, 2010:800; SNAE, 2011b). It is a school form of its own and shall, like the preschool, offer children – also those in need of support – rich opportunities for play, learning and development, and cooperate with parents. The preschool class is often described as an island between preschool and compulsory first grade. The preschool and preschool class are not compulsory.
A move from preschool to a preschool class can be described as an educational transition between two school forms. At this things change for children (Ackesjö, 2014; Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Lundqvist, 2016). They change learning environment and teacher, and they can also get new classmates. This may create both excitement and concern for the children. Probably their parents go through similar processes. It is not only the child that meets changes. An educational transition between two school forms does not only infer a move, but in addition changes in activities, relationships and roles (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998). Hence, transitions can be understood as “moving into and adjusting to new learning environments” (United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF], 2012, p. 8), as rites of passages incorporating a separation phase, a transition phase and an incorporation phase (Garpelin, 2014; van Gennep, 1960) and as milestones in children’s life.
The bioecological model for human development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998) was adopted as a theoretical, conceptual and analytical frame. According to the model, human development are influenced by several interplaying systems (i.e. biosystem, microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem and chronosystem). In the model, proximal processes (e.g. educational activities, routines, interactions and play) in the microsystem, are seen as engines for human development.
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