Pre-examiner, opponent or assessor of doctoral thesis
Esiopetuksen käsityö - Kolme tapaustutkimusta esikoululaisista käsityötehtävien parissa
Year: 2019
Organisation: University of Helsinki
This dissertation examines the handicrafts of young children during their preschool education. The perspective expands towards the technology education of young children and investigative activities as a pursuit to notice the close connection of these learning areas in terms of the nature of the contents and activities. The dissertation’s empirical section orients children’s work on handicraft tasks via three sub-studies.

The study represents a qualitative case study where the objective was to produce the most accurate description of the entirety of the subject being examined. The research was strongly contextual by nature. Video material captured during real-action circumstances and analyses based on this material formed this dissertation’s most extensive, and at the same time, the most important research material of all sub-studies.

In the first sub-study, the intention was to determine how preschoolers perceived, verbalised and interpreted the craft-making process and how they used nonverbal expressions when explaining a learned skill. The aim of the second sub-study was to clarify the ability of preschoolers’ to execute a personal and plan-following handicraft process in a holistic context. The focus of the third sub-study was the appearance of preschoolers´ verbal and embodied collaboration during co-operative design situations and what kinds of roles were formed during peer-group work.

The results of the sub-studies indicate that handicrafts’ conventional, cyclically repeating steps of perceiving, making and interpreting can be found in preschoolers’ processes. Children learn through experience and interpret what they have learned using gestures, especially when verbal expression feels difficult. According to this, gestures are closely linked to the children’s thinking and reveal the understanding associated with the task. Preschoolers are capable of designing individual products, and during the making phase, they consider different material and colour choices, as well as product details. During collaboration, they can organize their own group actions and are able to work co-operatively with a verbal design task. As a result, they can produce feasible drawing plans for the given task.

With minimal help from adults, preschoolers are able to follow a logical, holistic handicraft process suited to their capabilities. A handicraft design and making process includes many natural possibilities for collaboration and co-operative practise. Since preschoolers are only practising collaboration skills, setting up chances for co-operative learning during handicraft activities is recommended.

Last updated on 2019-24-10 at 15:27