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Children’s explorative activities in Kindergartens in China and in Norway

1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
5:20 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
In this comparative study, we discuss the cultural-historical conditions for young children’s play during outdoor playtime as basis for conceptualizing children’s explorative activity in a global perspective. The research focuses on the conditions for explorative play in kindergarten and children as explorative players. Play is regarded as the most important source for children’s learning and development (Vygotsky, 1966). In the Nordic countries, kindergartens have a historical tradition to emphasize play in kindergarten’s curriculum and practices. In China, play has traditionally had a minor role in early childhood education, but in recent educational reforms for early childhood education, the importance of play has been emphasized. Our research is based upon a cultural-historical approach to the social situation of child development, and we draw on Hedegaard’s concepts of development as individual, institutional and societal processes. In order to capture the global aspects of early childhood education, we see the necessity for widening the model by including a global level (Hedegaard, 2009). We investigate one kindergarten in China and one in Norway by obtaining video observations, children’s photos of places on playgrounds, and interviews with manager and staff. Our hypothesis is that there is a strong global exchange of ideas and anticipations in relation to what children shall learn in kindergarten as preparation for later life. We find it necessary to analyze the institutional conditions and children’s activities in a global perspective as well as a societal perspective to understand the social situation of child development in outdoor playtime in China and Norway. 
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
Western Norway University of Applied Science
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