Jyrki Reunamo
University of Helsinki
Department of Teacher Education

The child as an agent of change in kindergarten situations

A childīs action may be seen in two ways. On the one hand, a child may be seen as making accommodations in a situation. From another perspective a child not only adopts himself/herself to the reality at hand, but is also an active producer of that reality and the creator of its laws. To see a child as a whole both perspectives are necessary.

In the study, 15 situations were described to 73 children and they were asked to explain how they would respond to each. Their answers were categorized in order to see whether children saw themselves as adapting to or changing the situation.

The childrenīs actions were observed in their everyday kindergarten activities and situations in several categories. All of the observations were counted together. This gave a profile of each childīs typical action in the kindergarten.

Both the childrenīs profile of seeing things and their profile of doing things are strongly related. Children have to perceive of and participate in change in order to be a part of it. In this way, life-long learning not only develops into a way of understanding but into a way of becoming. (For more information about the research in Finnish see http://www.helsinki.fi/~reunamo/ . The English version is under construction.)