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The impact of group size in preschool

Conference contribution
Authors Pia Williams
Sonja Sheridan
Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson
Panagiota Nasiopoulou
Published in Nordic Educational Research Associaton
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Keywords Preschool, teachers, children, group size
Subject categories Pedagogy


Over the last decade, group size in preschool has become an important issue for Swedish preschool teachers. In Sweden 87 per cent of children in the ages of 1 and 5 are enrolled in preschool. A key issue related to the education of these children is the impact of group size. This study aims to investigate the impact of group size on the affordances available to children in relation to the intentions instantiated in the curriculum and to children's learning and knowledge formation. The research question we address is: In relation to the preschool curriculum and depending on group size, how do teacher's express views on group sizes in preschool? Despite a long preschool tradition in Sweden and a preschool system that is nearing completion, there is limited research and knowledge about how large groups impact teachers’ working conditions including their ability to meet curriculum intentions and support children’s learning and knowledge formation. There are even fewer studies that focus on the relationship between the youngest children and group size in preschool. These needs make the size of preschool groups important foci for research in Sweden as well as in the other Nordic countries. The study takes an interactionistic perspective based on Urie Bronfenbrenner´s ecological systems. Methods used are interviews, video observations and interplay between teachers and children. Analyses will be conducted drawing on Urie Bronfenbrenner´s ecological system theory and development pedagogy to examine similarities, differences and the variation of available affordances. The study follows the Swedish research council guidelines and ethical rules in social science research. Ethical aspects of the research were taken into consideration, including in particular requirements for confidentiality, consent, information and autonomy, along with the emphasis that participation in the study was voluntary. The results is expected generate knowledge of the perspectives of teachers on the impact of group size in preschool and the affordances available to children in relation to curriculum goals depending on the size of their group.

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Utskriftsdatum: 2020-08-07