In this research group we will explore a wide array of topics, which may vary over time. Below are some of our current research areas.
Adult-child joint imaginative playworlds

This research project focuses on studying, developing, and creating sustained forms of adult-child joint play, as well as adults’ participation in children’s play, in early education and care and primary schools settings, from a cultural-historical and Vygotskian perspective. Special focus is placed on forms of adult-child joint play called playworlds. Playworlds can be described as a form of adult-child joint play in which adults and children enter into a common fantasy that is designed to support the development of both the adults and the children. Adult-child joint play is typically structured around a piece of literature or a work of art. The adults and children work together to ‘bring the literature to life’ through drama and play.

Children’s grief and grieving in institutional early childhood education (GIECE)

Although grief is a common aspect of children’s lives, it is an under-researched and undertheorized phenomenon. Departing from the dominant psychological and medical approaches to grief, and taking a cultural-historical approach along with ethnographically inspired research methods, the GIECE research project explores children’s grief as a common human experience that is interactively constructed, and culturally mediated, normative practice. We approach grief as an umbrella concept or phenomenon for lived experiences and practices of everyday emotional loss.

Children’s projects

Children’s projects are activities developed and led by children; they often focus on the production of a material artifact, performance, or the realization of an idea. Although these kinds of projects are widely present in children’s everyday lives, they remain largely unrecognized by learning research. By building on cultural-historical activity theory, this research project aims to increase our understanding of children's projects, especially regarding the learning opportunities they present for children and their possible impact on children’s development. In addition, the research project also aims to better understand how various settings in children’s everyday lives (at kindergarten, school, and home) as well as their relationships (with parents, friends, teachers, and other adults) support the development of children’s projects.

Construction of evil in early childhood education and care

The aim of this research project is to study how evil is constructed, resisted, and transformed in the context of early childhood education and care. The study of evil is increasingly relevant amidst our global sustainability crises, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, often stated to require a change of morality brought about by education. From this perspective, education represents an agent of moral transformation concerning, for example, human relations towards the environment. In order to understand how this change towards a new morality occurs, there is also a need to understand evil as an empirical human phenomenon that is meaningful for fully understanding the multidimensionality of morality.

Cultures of sleep and learning in early childhood (SLEAC)

Children’s sleep is a widely studied topic. Yet, despite how central sleep is for children’s learning, development and their everyday life, there is dearth of knowledge on children’s sleep from an educational sciences perspective. This means that questions regarding the cultural practices and pedagogics of sleep - how sleeping is done, taught and learned - in today’s childhoods are not addressed. Furthermore, given the entanglement of children’s sleep in the rhythms of societal institutions and ways of life, answering such questions requires understanding also how communities and institutions around children can learn and change for better sleep, and why they are required to do so. The Cultures of Sleep in Early Childhood research project will explore these questions from a cultural-historical activity theory perspective.

Expanding cultures of compassion in early childhood education

Research shows that practices that support compassion are an important part of a well-functioning organization. However, we have only little knowledge of how educational communities such as early childhood education centers build and develop their compassionate cultures. By compassionate cultures, we mean the established and sustained ways that a community notices the resentment and suffering of its members and supports members in such situations.

Pedagogy of concrete utopias: Fostering youth agency and climate activism in formal education

This research project aims to design and research pedagogical approaches for responding to youth's anguish about climate change and for supporting the development of youth's active citizenship and activism for sustainable futures. The project also examines the development of youth agency and its preconditions. The project is implemented in collaboration with teachers, civil society organizations, and young climate activists.

Towards engaging classrooms: Understanding teacher development and change

When studying children’s agency and engagement we also need to focus on studying the adults that the children interact with. This research project focuses on teachers’ professional development and change. We study the possibilities, prerequisites, and obstacles that teachers face in their efforts to engage children and prevent dropout and exclusion in diverse classrooms and early learning settings. We both critically examine the mechanisms of change in teachers’ talk and also co-develop forms of support together with the teachers to create more inclusive classrooms and ECEC settings. The research is realized with teachers and children as co-producers of knowledge, with the aim of altering the hierarchy of academic research and knowledge production.