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International Journal of Early Childhood

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 387–410 | Cite as

Children Crossing Borders: School Visits as Initial Incorporation Rites in Transition to Preschool Class

  • Helena Ackesjö
Original Article

Abstract

Most research about transition in educational settings describes how children enter into new contexts, especially transition from preschool to school. However, the overall research focus in this article is to gain knowledge about how the transition process can be characterized at the end of the preschool period before the actual transition. The data reported in this article was generated through visits to preschool class which have the intention to prepare children before the transition. The results support the conclusion that the transition process can be characterized as circular rather than linear, or maybe a spiral process that loops back and forth. The children in this study engage in a number of border encounters and border crossings between preschool and preschool class during the spring semester before the actual entering. After each border crossing they return to preschool and seem to reconstruct their experiences and expectations of preschool class. This looping movement highlights the identity deconstructions as a social learning process over time. It is shown that children enter the transitions process long before they actually (physically) enter or visit school. The results also propose that the transition is a period when the constructing of identities as ex preschool children may be important. In this process, the teachers in preschool have an important role to facilitate the children’s disengagement from preschool. The study also implies the need for teacher collaboration to make the transition transparent and explicit for the children.

Keywords

Transition activities Priming events Preschool class Identities Preschool Borders 

Résumé

La plupart des recherches sur les transitions en milieux éducatifs décrivent comment les enfants entrent dans de nouveaux contextes, notamment lors de la transition de l’éducation préscolaire à l’école. Cependant, la recherche présentée dans cet article a pour but général d’obtenir des connaissances sur ce qui caractérise le processus de la transition vers la fin de la période préscolaire, avant la transition elle-même. Les données présentées dans cet article ont été obtenues par des visites dans des classes préscolaires qui ont l’intention de préparer les enfants avant la transition. Les résultats permettent de conclure que le processus de transition peut être qualifié de circulaire plutôt que linéaire, ou peut-être comme un processus en spirale de boucles avant, arrière. Les enfants de cette étude s’engagent dans une série de rencontres et de traversées de la frontière entre l’éducation préscolaire et les classes préscolaires, pendant le semestre du printemps qui précède la transition réelle. Après chaque passage de la frontière, les enfants retournent à l´éducation préscolaire, où ils semblent reconstruire leurs expériences et leurs attentes envers la classe préscolaire. Ce mouvement en boucle fait voir les déconstructions d’identité comme processus d’apprentissage social au fil du temps. Ceci montre que les enfants entrent dans le processus de transition bien avant de vraiment entrer (physiquement) à l’école ou de la visiter. Les résultats suggèrent aussi que la transition est une période pendant laquelle la construction d’une identité d’ex enfant préscolaire peut être importante. Dans ce processus, les enseignants du préscolaire ont un rôle important à jouer pour faciliter le désengagement des enfants de l’éducation préscolaire. Il découle également de l’étude que la collaboration des enseignants est nécessaire pour rendre la transition transparente et explicite pour les enfants.

Resumen

La mayoría de la investigación acerca de transición entre contextos educacionales describe cómo los niños ingresan a nuevos contextos, especialmente en la transición desde la educación preescolar a la escolar. Sin embargo, el interés general de la investigación presentada en este articulo es obtener conocimiento acerca de cómo el proceso de transición puede ser caracterizado a fines del periodo preescolar, previo a la transición misma. La información presentada en este articulo fue generada a través de visitas a clases preescolares, cuyo objetivo es preparar a los niños para la transición a la escuela. Los resultados apoyan la conclusión de que el proceso de transición puede ser caracterizado como circular más que lineal, o quizás como un proceso en espiral que se mueve hacia atrás y hacia adelante. Los niños en este estudio se entablan en una serie de encuentros limítrofes y de cruces de fronteras entre la educación preescolar (1-5 años) y clases preescolares (6 años) durante los meses previos al ingreso a la clase preescolar. Después de cada cruce de fronteras retornan al preescolar y parecen reconstruir sus experiencias y expectativas sobre la clase preescolar. Este movimiento en vaivén ilustra la deconstrucción de identidad como un aprendizaje social a través del tiempo. Esto demuestra que los niños comienzan el proceso de transición mucho antes de su ingreso (físico) a la escuela. Los resultados proponen además que la transición es un periodo en que la construcción de identidades como ex niño preescolar puede ser importante. En este proceso los profesores preescolares tienen un importante papel para facilitar el desapego de los niños al preescolar. El estudio también implica la necesidad de colaboración entre los profesores para hacer la transición transparente y más explicita para los niños.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank associate Professor Per Lindqvist, Professor Eva Johansson, and Professor Sue Dockett for important and significant comments and contributions during the work on this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PedagogyLinnæus UniversityKalmarSweden

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