Kindergartens: inclusive spaces for all children?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInternational Journal of Inclusive Education. 2021, 1-17. 10.1080/13603116.2021.1950976
Norwegian Kindergartens are seen as one of the most important social infrastructures for all children below five years. Kindergarten attendance is a legal right for children from the age of one year in Norway, and consequently 97 per cent of children aged four to five years attend these institutions. However, we still have little knowledge to what extent children regardless of abilities can develop social capital and experience inclusion in Kindergarten. Our point of departure is a human rights perspective on children and a relational perspective on disability and materiality. Through a cross sectional multi-method study design, based on qualitative methods, we, in collaboration with children with and without disabilities identified which places indoors and outdoors these children defined to be comfortable and inclusive spaces, and what characterise them. All children preferred stable organisational structure, physically small places equipped with different types of construction materials and available and reliable staff. Children showed that (dis)abilities are a spatial phenomenon and thereby guide inclusive pedagogy closer to the dynamic between children, place, and space. Children’s preferences and meaning-making contrasts the pedagogical epistemology which manifests itself as fluid and flexible organisation, based on children’s ‘free choice’.