Doing fantasy: a shared practice among children and pedagogues in a Norwegian kindergarten
MetadataShow full item record
This is a master thesis about children’s fantasy. Fantasy is, especially from prior work of developmental psychology, often regarded as a childish quality, which children as part of their “natural development”, leave behind as they grow older. I argue, however, that the reason for a decrease in fantasy is rather caused by lack of recognition and lack of acknowledgement from the environment. In order to examine these issues through empirical research I have studied children and pedagogues in a Norwegian kindergarten as they carry out the activity of project-work. I have collected data by participant observation, videotaping and conversations with children and additionally observed meetings among pedagogues. In the kindergarten for my study I have found a great amount of visible fantasy-expressions performed by children through the use of many different languages of expressions. Moreover, these fantasy-expressions are developed in shared processes and are expressed so frequently that they serve as common features of the daily life in the kindergarten. Additionally, I have found that the adult pedagogues in my study participated in the fantasy-expressions, both with direct suggestions and with supporting comments and dialogues with the children. Hence, I have concluded that fantasy does not necessarily need to be regarded as an individual and mental quality but that it is also a shared activity among several participants. Within this common sphere of doing fantasy I have found that one can learn to practice fantasy from each other. Furthermore, this implies that when practicing fantasy together, as the pedagogues and children did in the kindergarten for my study, one can increase ones skills in fantasy. But, I have also concluded that nurturing fantasy-expressions in kindergarten requires time to be mentally present with the children, which is challenging as Norwegian kindergartens seem to be characterized by efficiency when it comes to personnel resources. Nurturing fantasy is also challenging as there seem to be political tendencies in the Norwegian society calling for kindergartens to focus on preparing children for school. Accordingly, practicing fantasy together becomes an act of opposing the educational culture.