'My hands are ouchie' - Outdoor experiences of children in an international kindergarten in Norway
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The focus of this study is to explore the outdoor experiences of children in the context of a kindergarten in Norway. It investigates the outdoor play, adaptation processes to diverse weather conditions and children’s engagement in outdoor and indoor interaction with each other as well as interaction with staff members of the kindergarten. Taking into consideration the importance of nature and outdoor presence for people living in Norway, one of the aims is also to explore the learning process of children in the preschool age in relation to nature and environment. A large part of this study was a collection of empirical data in form of a fieldwork in an international preschool setting in Norway. This study material was obtained during 20 days in an international kindergarten, using a qualitative approach, and the main resource of data was observations with informal dialogues and an interview. There are several theoretical concepts that influence the study; The new sociology of childhood, particularly the social and cultural construction of childhood, children and their agency as well as the theory of socialization. These theoretical concepts have an important role in the analytical part of this study. The data from the fieldwork in an international setting show the significance of nature in both learning processes and outdoor play, the influence of weather on children’s games, use of outdoor places and their relationships with both children and staff members. The first analytical chapter focuses on children’s experiences outside and inside of the kindergarten, variety of places for playing children and choices of playmates. The proper clothing is strongly emphasized when it comes to weather and conditions, that might be uncomfortable for children. The second analytical chapter focuses on the variety of learning opportunities for children in the studied kindergarten when it comes to the use of outdoor areas.