Educational Practices and Children’s Learning Journeys from Preschool to Primary School

  • Gunilla SandbergEmail author
  • Kenneth Ekström
  • Tina Hellblom-Thibblin
  • Pernilla Kallberg
  • Anders Garpelin
Part of the International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development book series (CHILD, volume 16)


Children all around the world pass through a number of transitions in educational systems. These transitions are organised in different ways in different countries. In Sweden, children pass through three school forms in early childhood education: preschool, preschool class and primary school. In a research project funded by the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish POET group conducted case studies in three municipalities, using participant observations, semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews. The aim has been to deepen the understanding of children’s learning journeys from preschool into school. A second aim has been to examine the long-term implications of educational practices across the transitions for children’s learning and participation. In this chapter, some findings from the research project are presented. The results show how the complex structure of Swedish early childhood education creates challenges for children and their learning journeys.


Primary School Early Childhood Education School Form Preschool Teacher Free Play 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Athola, A., Silinskas, G., Poikonen, P.-L., Kontoniemi, M., Niemi, P., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2010). Transition to formal schooling: Do transition practices matter for academic performance? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 295–302.Google Scholar
  2. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Experiments by nature and design. London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bulkeley, J., & Fabian, H. (2006). Well-being and belonging during early educational transitions. International Journal of Transitions in Childhood, 2, 18–30.Google Scholar
  4. Corsaro, W. A., & Molinari, L. (2000). Priming events and Italian children’s transition from preschool to elementary school: Representations and action. Social Psychology Quarterly, 63(1), 16–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dilthey, W. (1883/1976). Selected writings (H. P. Rickman, Trans. to English). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2007). Transitions to school. Perceptions, expectations, experiences. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.Google Scholar
  7. Einarsdóttir, J. (2006). From pre-school to primary school: When different contexts meet. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 50(2), 165–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-konsultit.Google Scholar
  9. Engeström, Y., & Sannino, A. (2010). Studies of expansive learning: Foundations, findings and future challenges. Research Review, 5(1), 1–24.Google Scholar
  10. Erickson, F. (1986). Qualitative methods in research on teaching. In M. C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 119–161). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Eriksen Hagtvet, B. (2003). Skriftspråkstimulering i første klasse: faglig innhold og didaktiske angrepsmåter [Stimulating written language in year 1. Subject content and didactical approach]. In I. K. Klette (Ed.), Klassrommets praksisformer etter Reform 97 (pp. 173–223). Oslo: Det utdanningsvitenskaplige fakultet.Universitetet i Oslo.Google Scholar
  12. Fabian, H. (2007). Informing transitions. In A.-W. Dunlop & H. Fabian (Eds.), Informing transitions in the early years: Research, policy and practice (pp. 3–20). Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Fabian, H., & Dunlop, A.-W. (2007). Outcomes of good practice in transition processes for children entering primary school. Working papers in early childhood development, 42. The Hague: Bernard van Leer Foundation.Google Scholar
  14. Garpelin, A. (1997). Lektionen och livet [Lesson and life] (Uppsala studies in education 70). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.Google Scholar
  15. Garpelin, A. (2003). Ung i skolan [Young in school]. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  16. Garpelin, A. (2014). Transition to school: A rite of passage in life. In B. Perry, S. Dockett, & A. Petriwskyj (Eds.), Transitions to school: International research, policy and practice (pp. 117–128). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (1995). Ethnography: Principles in practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Hellblom-Thibblin, C. (2004). Kategorisering av barns“problem” i skolans värld. En un-dersökning av skolhälsovårdsrapporter läsåren 1944/45-1988/89 [Categorization of children’s problems in school. A study of health care reports 1944/45-1988/89] (Uppsala studies in education no. 106). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.Google Scholar
  19. Hundeide, K. (2003). Barns livsverden: sosiokulturelle rammer for barns utviklin g [Children’s life worlds: Socio-cultural frames]. Oslo: Cappelen.Google Scholar
  20. Karlsson, M., Melander, H., Pérez Prieto, H., & Sahlström, F. (2006). Förskoleklassen – ett tionde skolår? [Preschool class- a tenth year of school?]. Stockholm: Liber.Google Scholar
  21. Lam, M., & Pollard, A. (2006). A conceptual framework for understanding children as agents in the transition from home to kindergarten. Early Years, 26(2), 123–141. doi: 10.1080/09575140600759906.
  22. Mackenzie, N. (2014). Transition and emergent writers. In B. Perry, S. Dockett, & A. Petriwskyj (Eds.), Transitions to school: International research, policy and practice (pp. 89–102). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ödman, P.-J. (2007). Tolkning, förståelse, vetande: Hermeutik i teori och praktik [Interpretation, understanding, knowledge: Hermeneutics in theory and practice]. (2 uppl.). Stockholm: Norstedts akademiska förlag.Google Scholar
  24. Persson, S. (2008). Forskning om villkor för yngre barns lärande i förskola, förskoleklass och fritidshem [Research about children’s learning in preschool, preschool class and recreation centre] (Vetenskapsrådets rapportserie, 1651–7350, 2008:11.). Stockholm: Vetenskapsrådet.Google Scholar
  25. Peters, S. (2010). Shifting the lens: Re-framing the view of learners and learning during the transition from early childhood education to school in New Zealand. In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational transitions: Moving stories from around the world (pp. 68–84). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Peters, S. (2014). Chasms, bridges and borderlands: A transitions research ‘across the border’ from early childhood education to school in New Zealand. In B. Perry, S. Dockett, & A. Petriwskyj (Eds.), Transition to school: International research, policy and practice (pp. 105–116). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of human development. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Sandberg, G. (2012). På väg in i skolan. Om villkor för olika barns delaktighet och skriftspråkslärande [On their way into school. About conditions for participation and learning] (Studia Didactica Upsaliensia 6). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.Google Scholar
  29. Sandberg, G., Hellblom-Thibblin, T., & Garpelin, A. (2014). Transition to school: A Swedish perspective. Early Childhood Folio, 18(2), 15–21.Google Scholar
  30. The Swedish National Agency for Education. (2010). Lpfö98. Läroplan för förskolan [Curriculum for the preschool]. Stockholm: The Swedish National Agency for Education.Google Scholar
  31. The Swedish National Agency for Education. (2011). Lgr11. Läroplan för grundskolan, för-skoleklassen och fritidshemmet [Curriculum for compulsory school, preschool class and recreation centre]. Stockholm: The Swedish National Agency for Education.Google Scholar
  32. The Swedish National Agency for Education. (2013). Skolverket [The Swedish national agency for education]. Accessed 18 July 2015.
  33. The Swedish Research Council. (2015). CODEX, rules and guidelines for research. Accessed 4 Nov 2015.
  34. van Gennep, A. (1908/1997). Rites of passage (M. B. Vizedom & G. L. Caffee, Trans.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  35. Vygotsky, L. (1934/1986). Thought and language. (A. Kozulin, Trans. and Ed.). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  36. Walford, G. (2008). The nature of educational ethnography. In G. Walford (Ed.), How to do educational ethnography (pp. 1–15). London: Tufnell Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gunilla Sandberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kenneth Ekström
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tina Hellblom-Thibblin
    • 1
  • Pernilla Kallberg
    • 1
  • Anders Garpelin
    • 1
  1. 1.Mälardalen UniversityVästeråsSweden
  2. 2.Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden

Personalised recommendations