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Values in Danish early childhood education and care

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Chapter: Nordic Social Pedagogical Approach to Early Years
Broström, Stig; Jensen, Anders Skriver & Hansen, Ole Henrik
Publication Date: 
21 Oct 2016


Based on video observations, interviews and joint pedagogue/researcher analyses carried out in three Danish child cares, this chapter presents three common values: democracy, care and discipline, which were communicated, expressed and negotiated through interactions between pedagogues (In this paper, we use the term ‘pedagogues’ for professionals working in child cares.) and children. The study is part of a larger Nordic project (The research project, Values Education in Nordic Preschools: Basis of education for tomorrow, and Project No. 53381 were carried out together with Nordic research colleagues.) that aims to generate new knowledge on institutionalised fostering of values in Nordic child cares.

Democratic values deal with children’s autonomy and possibilities of participation. Caring values are linked to a special relationship that targets and supports the child’s needs. Disciplinary values are defined as the system of underlying rules, norms and existing order, which regulate children. The three values are presented one after another, but it is also shown how they overlap one another and are expressed simultaneously in everyday practice. In the end of the chapter, we sketch some pedagogical implications for values education.