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Group size in preschool and Children’s affordances

Conference paper
Authors Pia Williams
Sonja Sheridan
Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson
Published in European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) 20120830-2012001
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Keywords Preschool, children, group size, affordances
Subject categories Educational Sciences


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 questions we address is: How do teacher´s express views on group sizes in preschool? In relation to the preschool curriculum and depending on group size, what kinds of affordances are available to children? The study takes an interactionistic perspective based on Urie Bronfenbrenner´s ecological systems. Methods used are interviews, video observations, interplay between teachers and children, stimulated recall with teachers, and walk-and-talk sessions with the 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. The study is expected to generate knowledge of the perspectives of teachers and children 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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