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Preschool teachers communicating values to children

Journal article
Authors Ingibjörg Sigurdadottir
Pia Williams
Johanna Einarsdottir
Published in International Journal of Early Years Education
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 170-183
ISSN 0966-9760
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Pages 170-183
Language en
Keywords Preschool, preschool teachers, values education, communicative action, play, video observation
Subject categories Pedagogy, Didactics, Learning


This empirical study aims to find if and how preschool teachers communicate values they consider important for children to learn in preschool. The study is a part of a Nordic research project on values education in Nordic preschools. Values are understood as desirable principles that guide human actions. Theoretically, the study draws on a sociocultural perspective and Habermas’ theory of communicative action. The data consists of approximately 17 h of video observations of communication between preschool teachers and children. Two episodes were chosen for further analysis and in-depth discussion. Care, respect, and discipline had been agreed on as important values to communicate to preschool children. The preschool teachers used different approaches to communicate these values, depending on their professional and personal backgrounds. The values were communicated implicitly rather than explicitly. The study contributes to research on values education in the ECE and gives reasons for reflection on the practices of preschool teachers.

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