This project investigates how participants in contemporary preschool education, teachers and children, understand the meaning of education and their own involvement in it. (1) The project combines a phenomenological-philosophical perspective on the concept of “Bildung” with empirical studies within educational research, ethnology and research in practical knowledge. Doing this it contributes to an urgently needed dialogue between philosophical and empirical research on education. (2) The project explores pre-school education as interplay of different perspectives: of pre-school teachers, becoming pre-school teachers and children at pre-school, but also of experience and reflection, practice and theory. (3) It includes a cooperation with researchers working on phenomenological approaches to education mainly in Germany but also in Lithuania, Belarus, developing a research platform to investigate concrete problems of pre-school education and teacher training in the Baltic Sea Region.
Pre-school education is currently in a decisive phase of transformation from a space of childcare to a place of education and learning and is thus increasingly incorporated into the education system. Yet, according to its curricula, preschool education aims to be more than a place that forms subjects with regard to certain external standards and ideas. It should not only form efficient pupils, teachers or future employees but enable persons to become “themselves”. How do (becoming) preschool teachers and children deal with this ambivalence? How do they interpret their roles as teaching and learning subjects? In which sense is contemporary pre-school education able to provide a space where educational goals are not only formulated and achieved but can become meaningful to the subjects involved?
The research project will investigate these questions in four sub-projects: (A) L. Alsterdal is investigating how becoming preschool teachers at the career-based teacher training program at SH reflect upon their change of professional identity and practical knowledge. (B) E. Schwarz studies how children in their last year at preschool are prepared to become pupils. (C) B. Lindqvist is conducting an ethnographic study of teacher-child interactions in outdoor pedagogy at preschool. (D) Bornemark philosophically investigates the concept of Bildung within career-based preschool teacher education as a relation between experience and reflection, practice and theory.