NAFOL profile: Mirjam Dahl Bergsland

The multicultural kindergarten, a daycare for all?

Parental cooperation and kindergarten discourses

Mirjam Dahl BergslandReviews of kindergarten research in the Northern countries by Nordenbo et al. (2009) and Alvestad et al. (2009) show that there is a need for more research on the multicultural kindergarten, especially with a focus on inclusion and exclusion processes as well as minorities’ relationships to the kindergarten. In my project, I focus on how kindergarten and home cooperation takes place in multicultural kindergartens. I want both to learn about the experiences that the kindergarten staff have of meeting with parents from minority backgrounds, and how minority parents experience meeting the kindergarten. My interest in multicultural work in kindergarten awoke after having been teaching at the intercultural program at our college and at COMPASS, which is a study program for bilingual kindergarten assistants. In 2008 I completed a music education project in a kindergarten with a high proportion of children and parents with minority backgrounds. Lessons learned from this project were that ideas that revolve around familiar, visible and «harmless» cultural areas such as music, dance and cooking are relatively unproblematic. Conversations with the staff  afterwards revealed that there are greater challenges related to issues around parenting practices, participation and inclusion of parents from minority backgrounds. Through my PhD project, I want to go deeper into the aspects of culture in which it can be more challenging to understand each other.

Abstract (docx file)