Profiled kindergartens, a blessing or a curse? Exploring profiled childcare institutions in modern Norwegian society
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As kindergartens once were a privilege and now have become a part of a “normal” Norwegian childhood, functioning as a multifunctional contribution to Norway´s welfare society. The phenomenon of profiled institutions need closer attention. Although researchers have conducted an extensive amount of research on institutional childcare, little knowledge exist on profiled centres. This study aims to explore and develop a basic understanding of how profiled kindergartens differs from each other. To develop an understanding, this thesis applied a qualitative participatory research design. The methods used were two variations of interview techniques with twelve pedagogical leaders from seven different profiles. This thesis has drawn its theoretical framework primarily from social studies of children and childhood, and due to the little existing research on profiled kindergartens, literature from the pedagogical field on specific concepts is included. The empirical material analysed with the concepts of curricula and agency indicates that there are variations in the profiles´ curricula which impacts the children’s identities. However, it appears as if these are more prominent in their intentions as opposed to their actions. The empirical findings further show that children´s social positions and opportunities for agency vary both amongst and within the profiled institutions. In our modern society where authorities have allowed the kindergarten field to become commercialised, it is necessary to pose questions concerning a standardisation of the pedagogical content or not, to understand the implications it might have for children and childhood.