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Pedagogical conditions for ‘play exploration’ in kindergarten

1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
4:20 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Cultural-historical contexts are conditioning the way kindergartens act and organize practice institutionally and thereby constitute conditions of what activities it is possible for children to engage in, to play and to learn (Hedegaard, Fleer, Bang, & Hviid, 2008; Ødegaard, 2007). In order to unfold and understand how children explore and experience while playing and how institutions condition play activities, we will present an empirical case study. The paper suggests a conceptualization of ‘play exploration’ as a crucial practice for kindergarten pedagogy. Heterogeneity in families, children and staff constantly challenge ideas of pedagogical strategies. Of special interest, in developing the case, are the processes of social inclusion and exclusion; for example, children with a history of being newcomers to kindergarten. We will explore the following questions: How are social processes explored in play? Where is the play located, what kind of artifacts become central in the play? How are the teachers’ practices connected to the children’s play-explorations? How is the play explorations supported and restricted? What cultural inspiration do the children take up? The aim of the paper is to start a process of opening up the concept of ‘exploration’ connected to play within cultural-historical framework through the analysis of a case study. The empirical base for the case consists of field-notes and video-observation from a Norwegian kindergarten. The kindergarten is working with changing the practice of their work with children’s families connected to the work they do with supporting, participating and giving space to children’s play explorations. The researchers and staff work together in analyzing children’s processes and the change of the teachers’ pedagogical strategies. 
Western Norway University of Applied Science
Western Norway University of Applied Science
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