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.
Doctoral projects/Licentiate projects
Children, film and the preschool, Maria Olsson
Enhancing preschool children´s attention, language and communication skills: An interdisciplinary study of socio-emotional learning and computerized attention training
A selection from Stockholm University publication database
How scientific concepts come to matter in early childhood curriculum
2016. Elizabeth de Freitas, Anna Palmer. Cultural Studies of Science Education 11 (4), 1201-1222Article
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.Book
En relationell etik i arbetet med digitala verktyg
2019. Anna Palmer (et al.). Digitalisering i en förskolan på vetenskaplig grund, 270-287Chapter
Omsorgsfull och lekfull utbildning och undervisning i förskolan
2018. Christian Eidevald (et al.). Undervisning i förskolan, 81-91Chapter
Naturhistoriska riksmuseet som kritisk djurpedagogisk arena
2017. Anna Palmer, Helena Pedersen. Posthumanistisk pedagogik, 41-59Chapter
‘Is this the tallest building in the world?’ A posthuman approach to ethical problems in young children’s learning projects
2016. Anna Palmer. Global Studies of Childhood 6 (3), 283-298Article
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.
Dokumentation för lärande. SEMLA
2017. Hillevi Lenz Taguchi, Anna Palmer. Förskolan och barns utveckling, 245-261Chapter
A protocol for a three-arm cluster randomized controlled superiority trial investigating the effects of two pedagogical methodologies in Swedish preschool settings on language and communication, executive functions, auditive selective attention, socioemotional skills and early maths skills
2018. Tove Gerholm (et al.). BMC Psychology 6Article
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.
Bidirectional collaborations in an intervention randomized controlled trial performed in the Swedish early childhood education context
2018. Sofia J. Frankenberg (et al.). Journal of Cognition and DevelopmentArticle
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.