Journal Barn no. 4 2016

Journal Barn no. 4 2016

Abstracts from articles in Barn no. 4 2016

Free play as children’s emotional work: A review and discussion of the psychodynamic perspective on children’s play

Thomas Gitz-Johansen

The article presents a survey of the psychodynamic theories of play and a discussion of their present relevance to understanding play in day-care settings. The article includes ”classic” and contemporary contributions to the theory, and the empirical evidence and epistemological foundations are discussed. The fundamental proposal of psychodynamic play theory is that spontaneous play can function as children’s way of dealing with the emotions that preoccupy them, and which they are not necessarily capable of articulating and managing in other ways. The article argues that psychodynamic play theory offers a pertinent focus on the emotional content and functions of play. This focus seems especially relevant to include in a time where much political attention is given to cognitive learning and measurable competences in day-care settings. However, it is also pointed out that there is a shortage of evidence from psychodynamic research on children’s play in day-care settings. 

Changes in kindergarten pedagogy? The importance of play and its environments

Solveig Nordtømme

Discussions on play and its importance in kindergarten today are raised in this article. First, a short historical retrospective is presented on changes in kindergarten documents from 1975 with a timespan of 40 years ahead. In this context, a discussion on what affect the kindergarten development – as it appears today – are brought up.

The article’s discussions on play and its importance in the kindergarten highlight several factors that can be restrictions on the purposes for free play among children. Claims for structured learning activities, documentation and assessment in a kindergarten – with increasingly complex organization – can be a threat to what has featured as a Norwegian kindergarten tradition where play has had an important role. It seems that educational thinking – that demands systematic, general directions and organized activities – has achieved huge scopes in the development of the kindergarten, and that play and education perspective has been overshadowed.

Dressed as a child – Children and childhood in online clothing stores

Johanna Sjöberg

There are societal norms on age-appropriate clothing. One should be dressed in accordance with one’s age – not “too young” or “too old”. The question raised here is what that means when it comes to children’s clothing assortment. The article discusses how age is are raised in three Swedish online stores specialized in clothes for children – what stylistic features that run through the assortment and what they say about notions and expectations on children and childhood.

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