|dc.description.abstract||Preschool teachers’ descriptions of group size in preschool
Keywords: Preschool, group size, preschool teachers, working conditions, learning conditions.
The aim of the study is to gain knowledge about preschool teachers’ perspectives of the impact of group size on working conditions as well as conditions created for children´s well-being, play and learning in preschool. Questions at issue are: In which contexts do preschool teachers write that the group becomes too big or too small? In what ways do preschool teachers express that group size can become an opportunity or an obstacle in relation to children's activities, positions and relationships?
The theoretical framework consists of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, which includes micro-, meso-, exo-, macro-, and the cronosystems that interact and are interrelated with each other.
The study is part of a projects’ larger national web survey answered by 698 preschool teachers. Two open-ended questions regarding group size were analysed qualitatively by using content analysis.
The staff ratio compared to the number of children, and the group’s composition, the physical area of preschool, the number of rooms and how they are arranged and organized are factors that influence preschool teachers’ experience of when a child group becomes to big. They also influence their working conditions, choice of pedagogy, learning orientation and ways to work with the children and the curriculum. Important is the preschool teachers’ collective competences and how their competence can be used in the work with large child groups.
A group which seems to be too small with few children has an impact both on the group dynamics and children's opportunities for activities, play and relationships with other children and for preschool teachers' working conditions. Possibilities described in relation to a small group size are that it improves preschool teachers’ working conditions, which are important in order to plan and work with the preschool’s curriculum.||sv