Preschool is the first stage of the school system. A well-constructed curriculum at this level, including strong implications for children’s thinking, affects the results throughout the further school system. In Sweden such a national curriculum was presented in 2018. This paper presentation deals with the effects of implementing the curriculum in one municipality in Sweden. It is part of an on-going evaluation research project. This report is a close-up didactic analysis of some particular teaching situations to shed light on how the teacher acts and the consequences in children’s progression. The observations were closely analyzed using Eisner’s (1991) educational connoisseurship’ and ’educational criticism’.
The result shows that teaching had changed to more structured and knowing pedagogy, when compared with earlier studies and research. The didactic moves were understood by most of the preschool teachers, to a certain extent. How to variate to visualize the learning object in a particular activity, or to motivate the children are areas that could be developed. There was an overrepresentation of preschool time letting the children choose among a limited, and sometimes conform, number of activities, with little or unclear goals, and little or no scaffolding by teachers. Some of the tasks, or at least the way they were handled, were reminiscences of an earlier way of understanding teaching. The curriculum was interpreted through these historical goggles. Many activities gave the impression that children were waiting for something, maybe for maturity to take place. Observations of children working collaboratively, were scarce. However, the teachers were trying to grasp new ways of acting out the concept of ‘teaching’, even if it sometimes caused confusion. Some exceptions to the common results were also displayed, preschools working in advanced, long sequence projects, with a high degree of children participation and influence.
Read research paper here: Curriculum decisions for thinking at preschool level
Get excerpts from observations analyzed in the paper here and use for collegual dialogues: Excerpts from observations analyzed in the paper