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To make oneself heard - children's perceptions of empowerment in the Swedish preschool context
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare. (ICU-CHILD)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6223-1109
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology. (ICU-CHILD)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5904-1390
2012 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Recently, there has been a developing interest concerning children’s voices in for example decision-making and planning within different educational contexts, such as the preschool. Although children’s rights are emphasized, it is not clear how these rights are expressed in children’s everyday life. Further, children from a minority ethnic group risk marginalization in relation to other children as well as to significant adults and the society as a whole. The aim of this study was to analyze children’s perceptions of empowerment in a preschool context in a gender and ethnicity perspective. Data, collected in 2010, comprised of 25 children at 4 different preschools (aged 4-6, 13 girls, 7 children with other ethnicity than Swedish). Two different methods were used: (1) a group interview with 5-8 children at a time, using a puppet interview technique, playing different scenarios involving the children as co-actors, and (2) a photo walk where children took photos of their indoor and outdoor environment. The photos were used as stimulated recall in individual interviews with the children to let them express their empowerment in the everyday life at preschool. Children’s perceptions were in part related to environmental prerequisites such as the social and physical context of the preschool as well as more distal factors such as resources and values on the macro level. Therefore, to highlight the preschool as an influential micro environment in children’s exercising of empowerment, the interview analysis was based on an ecological systems perspective.The intersectional perspective was used to emphasize possible differences in the children’s perceptions of empowerment due to gender and ethnicity. The results indicate that children perceive the preschool teacher as an uncontested authority. In the preschool environment with least resources and most ethnic diversity among the children, there seem to be a tendency that children perceive the teachers as even stronger authorities, than in the more affluent preschool environments. The peer relations are, however, more complex and questioned by the children. If children have internalized parts of the social context, like rules, seem to vary due to their own experience of consequences of such rules. A salient prerequisite for empowerment is to increase children’s opportunities to understand and be understood. Therefore, preschool teachers need to elaborate on children’s experiences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-16258OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-16258DiVA: diva2:571926
Conference
Social Work Social Development 2012: Action and Impact conference, Stockholm 8-12 July, 2012.
Available from: 2012-11-26 Created: 2012-11-26 Last updated: 2017-02-08Bibliographically approved

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Almqvist, Anna-LenaAlmqvist, Lena
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf