Anna Palmer

Anna Palmer

Universitetslektor, Docent

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Child and Youth Studies
Telephone 08-120 762 34
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 21A
Room 330
Postal address Barn- och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Associate Professor

Section for Early Childhood Education

Director of Section for Early Childhood Education



Teaches within Teacher Education Programme in Early Childhood Education.



Anna Palmer´s current research interests focus on material feminist studies and methodology in relation to Early Childhood Education. Her work looks closely at alternative ways of learning, doing and understanding mathematics in aesthetic learning practices. In a recent publication she draws on the work of Gilles Deleuze to understand how scientific concepts interact with children’s bodies and other material entities partaking in a learning event (de Freitas & Palmer 2015). Another research interest concerns different ways of understanding ethics in preschool, drawing on new materialist philosophy.

Research projects

Research area: Learning-Brain-Practice: transdisciplinary studies in communication, language and literacy in preschool

Enhancing preschool children´s attention, language and communication skills: An interdisciplinary study of socio-emotional learning and computerized attention training

Doctoral projects/Licentiate projects

Experimenting dance in preschool, Lovisa Gustafsson

Sustainability and Future – Learning Laboratories in Preschools, Teresa Elkin Postila

Previous projects

Becoming a "Math-person" in preschool and school


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2016. Elizabeth de Freitas, Anna Palmer. Cultural Studies of Science Education 11 (4), 1201-1222

    The aim of this article is to investigate how new materialist philosophies of matter can help us study the emergence of scientific thought in young children's activities. We draw extensively on the work of Gilles Deleuze to help us understand scientific concepts as concrete universals. In particular, we show how the concept of force is reanimated through this approach, becoming less deterministic, and more inflected with chance and indeterminism. We show how this approach to concepts moves beyond constructivist socio-cultural theories of learning, and reveals how concepts are 'material articulations of the world' intra-acting with all other matter and meaning. Finally, we discuss video data and artifacts from an ongoing ethnographic project in Stockholm entitled 'Children's relations to the city'. Our analysis of the classroom video data from this project shows how concepts are not timeless transcendent abstractions, but part of an unfolding event and learning assemblage. Thus the article contributes to research on conceptual change in children, with particular focus on scientific concepts.

  • 2017. Anna Palmer.
  • 2019. Anna Palmer (et al.). Digitalisering i en förskolan på vetenskaplig grund, 270-287
  • 2018. Christian Eidevald (et al.). Undervisning i förskolan, 81-91
  • 2017. Anna Palmer, Helena Pedersen. Posthumanistisk pedagogik, 41-59
  • 2016. Anna Palmer. Global Studies of Childhood 6 (3), 283-298

    In this article, I explore alternative ways of understanding ethics in preschool. In this, I draw on a posthumanist understanding of ethical concerns as entangled intra-actions of the world, rather than as a human affair. The examined data are part of an ongoing preschool project called ‘Children’s relations to the city’, in which children begin to investigate tall buildings in the immediate vicinity of the preschool and then turn their attention to other larger and more famous buildings in the world, such as Burj Khalifa, the World Trade Centre and Tapei 101. At first, the children seem to be interested in mathematics and science and collaboratively measure and compare the towers shown on pictures. The project then changes gear, and the children ask questions about the living conditions in faraway countries. This transfers the project from the local preschool to a global world in which complex ethical dilemmas emerge. The article discusses the ethics that can emerge when understanding children’s play and learning in preschool as always and already ethical and entangled with a more-than-human global world.

  • 2017. Hillevi Lenz Taguchi, Anna Palmer. Förskolan och barns utveckling, 245-261
  • 2018. Tove Gerholm (et al.). BMC Psychology 6


    During the preschool years, children develop abilities and skills in areas crucial for later success in life. These abilities include language, executive functions, attention, and socioemotional skills. The pedagogical methods used in preschools hold the potential to enhance these abilities, but our knowledge of which pedagogical practices aid which abilities, and for which children, is limited. The aim of this paper is to describe an intervention study designed to evaluate and compare two pedagogical methodologies in terms of their effect on the above-mentioned skills in Swedish preschool children.


    The study is a randomized control trial (RCT) where two pedagogical methodologies were tested to evaluate how they enhanced children’s language, executive functions and attention, socioemotional skills, and early maths skills during an intensive 6-week intervention. Eighteen preschools including 28 units and 432 children were enrolled in a municipality close to Stockholm, Sweden. The children were between 4;0 and 6;0 years old and each preschool unit was randomly assigned to either of the interventions or to the control group. Background information on all children was collected via questionnaires completed by parents and preschools. Pre- and post-intervention testing consisted of a test battery including tests on language, executive functions, selective auditive attention, socioemotional skills and early maths skills. The interventions consisted of 6 weeks of intensive practice of either a socioemotional and material learning paradigm (SEMLA), for which group-based activities and interactional structures were the main focus, or an individual, digitally implemented attention and math training paradigm, which also included a set of self-regulation practices (DIL). All preschools were evaluated with the ECERS-3.


    If this intervention study shows evidence of a difference between group-based learning paradigms and individual training of specific skills in terms of enhancing children’s abilities in fundamental areas like language, executive functions and attention, socioemotional skills and early math, this will have big impact on the preschool agenda in the future. The potential for different pedagogical methodologies to have different impacts on children of different ages and with different backgrounds invites a wider discussion within the field of how to develop a preschool curriculum suited for all children.

  • 2018. Sofia J. Frankenberg (et al.). Journal of Cognition and Development

    Within the field of developmental science, there is a general agreement of the need to work together across academic disciplinary boundaries in order to advance the understandings of how to optimize child development and learning. However, experience also shows that such collaborations may be challenging. This paper reports on the experiences of bidirectional collaboration between researchers in a multidisciplinary research team and between researchers and stakeholders, in the first randomized controlled trial in Swedish preschool. The objective of the trial was to investigate the effects of two pedagogical learning strategies evaluating language, communication, attention, executive functions and early math. The interdisciplinary team includes researchers from early childhood education, linguistics, developmental psychology and cognitive neuro science. Educational researchers and theorists within the field of early childhood education in Sweden have during the last two decades mainly undertaken small-scale qualitative praxis-oriented and participative research. There is a widespread skepticism with regards to some of the core principles in controlled intervention methodologies, including a strong resistance towards individual testing of children. Consequently unanticipated disagreements and conflicts arose within the research team, as RCT methodology requires the measurement of effects pre and post the intervention. The aim of this article is to discuss the conditions for bidirectional collaboration both between researchers and stakeholders and between researchers in the research team. The findings illustrate strategies and negotiations that emerged in order to address ontological and epistemological controversies and disagreements. These include (a) the negotiation of research ethics, (b) making divergences visible and learning from each other, (c) using a multi-epistemological and methodological approach as a complement to the RCT design and (d) the negotiation of research problems that are shared between educators and researchers.

Show all publications by Anna Palmer at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 15, 2020

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