14 SES 12 A, Family Schools Partnership and Outdoors Learning
Almost all Swedish children age 6-9 attend Leisure Time Centre (LTC) before and after school and during school holidays (National Board of Education, 2017, September 11). In Sweden, LTC is a part of the national school system and is regulated by the School Act (SFS 2010:800) and included in the school curriculum, in which the LTC has a special section (National Board of Education, 2017). LTC has the task to work with a wide range of assignments including pupils learning, play, peer relations, and to offer pupils a meaningful leisure time. The education in LTC should take pupils’ needs and interests in consideration and give them the opportunity to influence the activities in LTC (National Board of Education, 2017).
Often the LTC teachers are the ones who meet the parents and can therefore be described in terms of link between school, LTC and home. Cooperation between home and school is a topic that gotten little attention in research (Simonsson, 2018: forthcoming), especially from the perspectives of pupils and parents. The aim of the paper is to analyse and describe cooperation between Leisure time centre and families. In this study we aim to investigate how different actors (pupils, parents and teachers in LTC) talk about their experiences of cooperation. Focus is on experience of cooperation regarding pupils who are on their way to quit LTC and, instead, stay home by themselves before and after school and during school holidays.
This embraces data obtained within the frame of a pilot study which consist of interviews with both pupils, LTC teachers and parents. The overall research questions in this paper is: How can cooperation between LTC and families be described from different actors’ perspectives? What are the specific experiences of cooperation regarding the transition when pupils quit LTC?
Theoretically this study takes its standpoint in the field of educational transitions and from interactionist theories. Transitions involve change in e.g. status, role identity and/or agency and focus on the conditions for these changes. The actual change as well as the ideas of change is important in understanding transition. Transition can thus been said to have both a structural and a meaning making aspect (Fabian 2007; Lam & Pollard 2006; Niesel & Griebel 2007). To understand this interactionist theories are used. Interactionist theories focus on the significance of the definition of situation that is created in interaction with others and how different actors create meaning in and about their everyday practices (Blumer, 1969). Meanings are seen as formed in the context of social interactions, the use of these meanings occurs through a process of interpretation (Atkinson & Housley, 2003; Närvänen & Näsman, 2007).
A constructive grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2014) is used in the study to help us focus on how the participants definition of situation regarding cooperation and pupils’ transition. This approach is characterized by data collection and analysis being considered simultaneous processes, and the analysis aims to formulate categories that explore the central categories according to cooperation between LTC and home. The data consist of interviews with LTC teachers, parents and 9 year old children. The interviews are done using semi structured interviews. This means that each interview assumes a number of themes but also allows for specific questions and topics to be developed in interaction with the informants' responses. During the interviews, the participants also has the opportunity to highlight various aspects that were important to them (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2014). In the interviews with the pupils the overall focus was on their experiences of attending LTC, their thoughts of quitting LTC and their expectations of being home alone. The interviews with parents and LTC teachers more explicit focused collaboration between home and LTC and how they look on the assignment to cooperate. During the whole research process we are following the ethical principles of the Swedish Research Council (2017). All the participants, both pupils, parents and teachers, are informed about the study and its overall aim of studying cooperation between LTC and home. They are given the opportunity to give their consent to participate. Before interviewing the pupils we also ask for the consent of their guardians. Furthermore, information such as names (pupils, teachers and LTCs) are changed to protect the integrity of the participants.
The result shows that the transition phase in terms of quitting LTC and be home alone is and a significant change for both the pupils and their parents. The LTC teachers described that they during the last year at LTC (when the pupils attend third grade and are 9 years old) they try to prepare them for their new independence in different ways, like preparing snack meal by themselves, teach them what to do if something happening (e.g. who to call in case of emergency). The pupils in the interviews describe their afternoons in terms of freedom because they are able to greater extension make decisions about what they want to do and with whom they want to play. The preliminary results also indicate that quitting the LTC is a gradual process. For example, many of the pupils talk about that they already in third grade, before they are discharged from LTC, sometimes choose to stay at home after school instead of attending LTC.
Atkinson, P. & Housley, W. (2003). Interactionism. London: Sage Publications. Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall. Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Fabian, H. (2007). Informing transitions. I Dunlop, A-W. & Fabian, H. (eds.) Informing transitions in the early years: Research, policy and practice (3-17). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press. Kvale, S. & Brinkmann, S. (2014). Den kvalitativa forskningsintervjun. (3. [rev.] uppl.) Lund: Studentlitteratur. Lam, M.S. & Pollard, A. (2006). A conceptual framework for understanding pupils as agents in the transition from home to kindergarten. Early Years, 26(2), 123-141. Närvänen, AL. & Näsman, E. (2007). Time, Identity and Agency. In: Zeiher, Devine, Kjørholt & Strandell (Eds.) Flexible Childhood?: Exploring Pupils's Welfare in Time and Space (69-92). University Press of Southern Denmark: Odense. National board of education. (2017, September 11). Elever och grupper i fritidshem 15 oktober 2016 [Pupils and groups in LTC], Retrieved from https://www.skolverket.se/statistik-och-utvardering/statistik-i-tabeller/fritidshem/elever-och-grupper National board of education. (2017). Curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and the recreation centre, 2011. Stockholm: Skolverket. Niesel, R. & Griebel, W. (2007). Enhancing the competence of transition systems through co-construction. I Dunlop, A-W. & Fabian, H. (eds.) Informing transitions in the early years: Research, policy and practice (21-32). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press. SFS 2010:800. The Swedish education act. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet. Simonsson, M. (2018, forthcoming). Föräldrasamverkan Swedish Research Council. (2017). God forskningssed. Stockholm: Vetenskapsrådet.
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