Becoming a school child: a positive developmental crisis

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In this chapter the transition from day-care into primary school is investigated from the point of view of the children, and characterized as a positive developmental crisis. Based on an observational study of a group of children during their last months in day-care and into their first months in primary school, it is argued that institutional transitions are both characterized by preparation (institutionally and personally) and of actualization. A general descriptive model of identity tasks and developmental demands is offered to account for institutional transitions, and exemplified with cases from the empirical material. The general tendency in the Danish context, to minimizing differences between day-care and school life, and organizing the transition into a long stretched step-by-step process, is critically discussed from the point of view of cultural-historical developmental psychology and empirical examples (Vygotsky 1998, Hedegaard 2014). It is argued that supporting the child’s positive integration into school needs to appreciate the importance of the phase of actualization where unforeseen changes are an inbuilt and unavoidable premise. Rather than minimizing differences between institutional environments, and providing for a long preparatory phase for school in daycare, it is argued that a short and intense preparatory phase, based on visits and explorative dialogues with children is a better way of preparing children for school in daycare.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildren's Transitions in Everyday Life and Institutions
EditorsMariane Hedegaard, Marilyn Fleer
Number of pages25
Place of publicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Publication year2019
Chapter3
ISBN (print)978-1-3500-2145-7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesTransitions in childhood and youth

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