Learning to become a first grader: The preschool class as a time of transition
2012 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
In this presentation the transition from preschool class to the first compulsory school year will be analysed. The point of departure is to study what activities are carried through to mark the transition, and in what ways children themselves create meaning of the transition. Concepts such as rites of passage (van Gennep 1960, Turner 1977), status passage (Glaser & Strauss 1971), and priming events (Corsaro & Molinari 2005) will be used to analyse the transition. This is done using an ethnographic approach (mainly participant observations and interviews) by following a group of children during the above mentioned transition.
The analysis demonstrates that the transition itself can be understood as a process with elements of separation and closure ending the year in preschool class. One such element was the use of expression such as “last time”. It can also be said to contain a liminal phase away from school (the summer holidays) and a phase of initiation in the beginning of first grade. During this period children and teachers together actively negotiated the content and meaning of being in the first grade. When analysing the ways in which the children themselves talked during interviews, a similar pattern emerges. The preschool class was talked about in vague terms and the children did not express a clear image of what it was. When asked to talk about it they used explanations like “It’s how you’re supposed to learn how you’re going to begin first grade”. One boy said, when asked to describe what a preschool class was, that you could call it “in between class”. In other words, the preschool class was talked about as a place for preparation. In this sense, the preschool class becomes the liminal phase between preschool and school. It is the place where children are taken away from one form of being, the preschool child, and are prepared for another form of being, the school child.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
preschool class, starting school, transition
Förskoleklass, skolstart, övergång
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-88656OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-88656DiVA: diva2:605543
40th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA 2012), 8-10 March 2012, Aarhus University, Campus Copenhagen, Denmark