Engagerade i världens bästa? Lärande för hållbarhet i förskolan
Sammanfattning: In this thesis the aim is to acquire knowledge about and to scrutinise the ambiguity, complexity and contradictions within education for sustainability in the Swedish preschool, as well as analysing children’s agency and meaningmaking and how they are manifested in relation to education for sustainability. In this qualitative research, the theoretical framework is guided by a critical theory approach as well as an ecofeministic perspective. The empirical material was obtained in four studies, which are presented in four articles focusing on different levels in the educational system, i.e. the national preschool curriculum, the envisioned curriculum and the enacted curriculum. Owing to the complexity of the objects of inquiry a bricolage methodological approach is used. The first article focuses on day care attendants’ comprehension of the concept of sustainable development and the pedagogical practices at their place of work in preschools. The second article scrutinises education for sustainable development in the Swedish preschool and the ways that young children are described as active participants and agents of change. The third article analyses the ways that young children were described and supported as active participants for change in the Australian and Swedish national steering documents for early childhood education. In the fourth article the dialogues between preschool children and preschool teachers are analysed in a theme about Earth Hour. In the final analysis all four articles are analysed as a whole to synthesise the findings and acquire knowledge about education for sustainability in the Swedish preschool. The findings show that education for sustainability is seen as an important task in the preschool educational activities and that preschool children participate in various activities (knowledge contents) dealing with sustainability issues. Children are also described as important actors in relation to their own lives in the present and in the future. Themes that become visible are related to: the present as an ongoing relation with the past and the future, places of agency, preschool children and nature, and preschool as an affirmative sustainability practice. In these themes hidden structures appear with unreflected and takenfor- granted assumptions: in relation to the knowledge contents, places for children’s agency and in children's relationship to nature. On the other hand, education for sustainability in the Swedish preschool can also be interpreted as a place where a transformative opportunity sometimes occurs. This is evident in the rhetoric of children’s rights and skills, a rights logic, as well as in the logic of care, which manifests itself in the respect for the child and respect for nature. The findings point to a complex web in which the present-day educational activities still contain notions and ideas from the early preschool days, along with more contemporary understanding of children, childhood and the preschool as a place where different political and practical agenda are expressed.
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