Increasing Pedagogical Attentiveness Towards Children’s Perspectives and Participation in Toddler Child Care

  • Lone SvinthEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development book series (CHILD, volume 15)


The Nordic research on toddlers has a strong tradition for microanalyses of adult-child relations in early childcare research. Within this tradition, it is well established that adults’ attentiveness towards children’s perspectives and what children experience here and now are a prerequisite for their well-being and learning. Inspired by this work, I and 85 toddler pedagogue and family childcare providers (practitioners) in a participatory action research project called ‘With the Child in the Centre’, investigated how increased attentiveness towards children’s perspectives can change children’s participation and being in pedagogical practice. Together, we challenged cultural habits and socially embedded relational patterns with the 0–3-year-old children in order to provide new opportunities for participation and relational being in toddler childcare. Based on a sociocultural perspective of learning as participation, the transformative ambition was to explore how practitioners develop generative processes of coactions with children. For one week the practitioners were invited to pay special attention to and engage more actively with a specific child believed to be in a troubling position. The practitioners’ reflections were reported in written narratives, which form the empirical grounding for this study. I found that the practitioners’ capacity to reflect the details of the present moment could be increased and that the practitioners’ increased attentiveness towards children’s perspectives provided more varied and engaged relations with the 0–3-year-old children in toddler childcare. The study shows how a more open and curious approach enables new understanding of children’s relational being, their intentions and meaning making. By changing their attentiveness and coaction with these children, the practitioners made new opportunities for participation available for the children in toddler childcare. The study also found that a pedagogical sense of presence is a prerequisite for the development of the practitioners’ attentiveness and inquisitive approach towards children and coaction.


Participatory Action Research Meaning Making Pedagogical Presence Childcare Setting Special Attentiveness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



A warm thanks to the participants in ‘Coaction and Learning’ for their engagement, attentiveness and lively reflections.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Danish School of EducationUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark

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