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Cultural-Historical Psychology

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1816-5435

ISSN (online): 2224-8935


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2005

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal

Affiliated ISCAR


Kindergarten Teachers' educational ideals — tensions and contradictions 1807


Birkeland А.
Associate professor Bergen University College, Centre of Educational Research

This article is based upon a comparative study of one kindergarten in Norway and one in China. The aim of the article is to describe and discuss the kindergarten teachers' educational ideals in a cultural historical perspective. More specifically the article examines how the kindergarten teachers practice and understand the phenomena of cultivating children's interests, rights and autonomy. Through an analysis based upon video-elicited interviews with the two groups of kindergarten teachers, the article argues that the kindergarten teachers' practices and ideals can be interpreted as a complex hybridity of cultural traditions, rules and regulations and curriculum reforms. Implicit in the kindergarten teachers' practices there are cultural ideals of the individual child and what it is supposed to be and to become. Educational ideals are closely related to the objects of the activities in the kindergarten and what the teachers want to achieve. The discussion is based upon perspectives from the social study of childhood and cultural historical activity theory.

Keywords: Educational ideals, individualization, comparative study, video elicitation, Chinese kindergarten, Norwegian kindergarten, cultural historical activity theory.

Column: Kindergarten as an arena for cultural formation

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