The child as an agent of change in kindergarten situations


Jyrki Reunamo

Helsinki University

Department of Teacher




Research methods

1. Interview:

15 questions, Classification of answers according to who is changing, the child or also the environment. Child adapts himself/herself or also the environment

2. Observation:

Kindergarten setting

Child’s activity

Child changes/is changed

Child’ object of observation

Nearest child contact


3. Teachers’ evaluation of children

4. Parents’ evaluation of their children



1. Let’s think that you are playing and somebody else is having the toy you want. What do you do?

Adapts him/herself Adapts the situation
  • Wait until itīs free
  • Nothing
  • Iīll play in childrenīs kitchen. Iīplay something else
  • I donīt know. I’ll buy one or I take another toy
  • I’ll draw sometimes
  • I’ll take other things
  • I’ll start to make sand castle
  • I donīt know
  • I would play with her
  • Iīll tell the teacher
  • I ask nicely
  • I feel bad. We’ll start fighting
  • I’ll ask mommy, if we could buy one
  • I’ll change the thing
  • I’ll take it from his hand



2. What do you do when you are playing and somebody comes to disturb you and interrupt your play?

Adapts him/herself Adapts the situation
  • I’ll do nothing
  • I’ll go somewhere else to play
  • I was drawing. Iwas disturbed. I took jigsaw puzzle
  • Then I go somewhere else
  • I’ll leave the play
  • I don’t know. I will go home again
  • I’ll play games
  • I don’t know
  • I’ll ask him to leave
  • Maybe I’ll tell the teacher
  • It happened. I’ll tell him to go away. You can tell the teacher
  • We’ll sort things out. "When we have left you can come"
  • Iwould play in the hut. I’d cover myself up so they can’disturb me
  • I beat him so that he leaves
  • The worse for him
  • I’ll start to tease her



6. Think of a situation when teacher comes to interrupt and stop your play. What do you do then?

Adapts him/herself Adapts the situation
  • I’ll do what she wants
  • We’ll go where we are told
  • I have to take the toys to the warehouse
  • Then I listen what she has to say
  • I’ll stop and then we clean up
  • I don’t know. I do nothing
  • They put me to sleep
  • If she tells me to go out, I’ll do it
  • I’ll ask her to leave
  • I will tell Maria
  • I’ll ask the teacher if we can go out
  • I’ll ask her if she could go away
  • "We don’t need to stop, this is fun"
  • I’ll beat her and tell her to go away
  • If I have to go out, I’ll go peeing and then escape




11. Think of a situation that you're work fails and you don't succeed. What do you do?

Adapts him/herself Adapts the situation
  • I’ll start to cry
  • I would break my work
  • I’ll go away
  • I’ll stop working on it, I put it in the box
  • I’ll throw it to the litterbox
  • I’ll go and get food, listen to the music
  • I’ll start working on something else. I start playing
  • I do nothing
  • I’ll carve with my own knife and make a new one
  • I’ll tell the teacher that we do it together
  • I could start over
  • I take another paper and do it there
  • I’ll do something easier
  • I’ll fix it
  • I’ll erase it and do it again of course
  • If somebody teases me it will fail. I start it over




Child sees the change/child changes the situation

The interview: "child sees the possible change of the situation" correlates with

The observation: "child changes the situation" 0.043

  1. does change, sees the change
  2. does change, doesn’t see the change
  3. doesn’t change, sees the change
  4. doesn’t change, doesn’t see the change


Principal components: 2 factors’ solution



The child adapts in the situation The child also adapts THE situation
System seeks equilibrium System seeks contact
Internally coherent system Internal and external keep in contact
The reality exists The reality depends on perception
Man has to study the laws of reality Man has to test and develop reality
Man has to know how to use his tools Man has to develope his tools
Child is independent and self-regulative The situation determines interdependence
Learning: Metacognitive skills and selfreflection are highlighted Learning: Practice of testing possibilities
Teacher: gives ideas, is a model and facilitator of kognitive conflicts Teacher: When a teacher sees the child as a reality developer, she/he can help the child to become one