Much changes, much remains the same: Icelandic parents’ perspectives on preschool education

Jóhanna Einarsdóttir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of the study was to shed light on Icelandic parents’ views on their children’s preschool educations and explore if their views have changed over the last decade. In 2005/2006, focus group interviews were conducted with parents of 5- and 6-year-old children in three preschools in Iceland. In 2016, the same preschools were revisited, and now 26 parent participants were interviewed. Several challenges have been facing Icelandic early childhood education and care in the last decade. Iceland is faced with academic pushes and pressures to increase accountability. In addition, society is moving from a homogeneous to a multicultural nature. Therefore, it was of interest to explore if parents’ views had changed over the last decade. However, mostly parents of Icelandic origin were willing to participate. The findings from the present study therefore show the views of dominant Icelandic parents. The views of those parents have not changed much over the last decade, in spite of changes in the societal and educational landscape. They endorsed play as well as social and personal competences. The findings indicate that socio-cultural discourses are influential in shaping the narratives of participating parents. It seems that the parents were expressing ideas proposed by the Icelandic National Curriculum Guidelines for Preschools and their views reflect the dominant cultural values that are presented in the curriculum guidelines. One can assume that these cultural values reflected in the curriculum are stronger than the current neoliberal, global emphasis since the ideas of the participating parents had not changed significantly from the views of parents a decade ago, in spite of an international trend emphasising the academification of preschools and increasing multiculturalism in the country. Hence, the study shows clearly that despite neoliberal pressures, play and child-centred preschools remain a priority for Icelandic parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-232
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

Other keywords

  • culture
  • early childhood education
  • families
  • parents
  • young children

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