What keeps play alive? : A Dynamic Systems approach to playing interactions of young newcomer children in Sweden

Sammanfattning: The study is a theoretically driven research project with the intention to apply the Dynamic Systems (DS) approach to play in relation to the time of transition of newcomer children to Swedish Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). The aim of the study is first to contribute to knowledge about how play emerges and how to understand its dynamics, and second to explore the possibilities of the DS approach in connection to empirical investigations in the field of ECEC.  The research questions include following: What are the theoretical and methodological implications of the DS approach to play among newcomer children? How do newcomer children experience playing interactions during their transition to Swedish ECEC? Which play patterns maintain the playing interactions in each new situation for newcomer children during their transition?An explicit tool for analyzing the newcomer children’s interviews is developed in order to get closer to children’s experiences and to decrease possible adults’/researcher’s/cultural influence on children. In addition, a specific soft GridWare (Lamey et al., 2004), developed on the principles and concepts of dynamic systems ideas, is used for exploding the changes and development of playing interactions among newcomer children.The DS approach to play among newcomer children demonstrates that playing activities of newcomer children is an embodied, flexible and self-organizing phenomenon, functioning in response to multiple contexts, which can include both individual, social and material elements. The DS approach also shows a possible way to research dynamics of such a complex phenomenon. Newcomer children communicated what was important for their playing interactions “from inside” of a play, while observations added few vital patterns to it. Thus, the dynamic system of playing interactions among newcomers got its’ shape from relational, embodiment, activities and locational categories (REAL) including multiple patterns within and between each of the category. Emotional category appeared to be a pattern, which both triggers the dynamics and change of play as well as remains the main outcome of it.

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