Handlende stemmer i skapende møter
The Framework Plan for the Tasks and Content for Kindergartens (Kunnskapsdepartementet, 2011) emphasizes kindergartens’ responsibility to facilitate all children’s participation in the classroom community. Despite this emphasis, several studies show that many minority-language children do not receive the possibility to interact in equal social relations in kindergarten. In this study I have focused especially on children who I experienced as most «silent» through contributing with less or no verbal language than the majoritylanguage children in the group. In my assessment, these children contributed to the classroom community through sound, movement and body language. This assessment is the foundation for my assertion that these children participate through physical action and sound, which I have termed action as voices. Adults’ interest and follow up of children’s initiatives is crucial for children’s experience of participation in the classroom community. This thesis is therefore motivated by a desire to shed light on more ways, besides verbal language, that children can influence and contribute to the classroom community. In this thesis I investigate the potential of explorative arts and crafts as an arena that facilitates equal opportunity for participation in the classroom community through supporting possibilities for children’s use of action as voices. In this study I undertook a participant observation with a camera in two kindergartens over six days. Observations took place under explorative arts and craft sessions in which children, a preschool teacher and I participated. The goal for the arts and craft sessions was that children should have the opportunity to explore materials without plans, goals or controls from the preschool teacher or myself. To aid in shedding light on new ways to understand the «silent» children’s embodied expressions as meaningful, I have used the philosophy of Merleau- Ponty (2012, 1968). I have also made use of Hannah Arendt’s (1996) concepts of natality and plurality which describe the human need for a plurality of unique reactions to one’s action in order to become «someone» (Arendt, 1996). In my data, action as voice seemed to be an essential dimension of the explorative arts and crafts sessions and seemed to form the dominant communication form for the entire group of participating children. A further consideration was how both the preschool teachers’ and my own requests for verbalized meaning and reflection from the children could reduce the participatory potential of arts and crafts sessions. I found that our expectations of verbal behavior seemed to contribute to the marginalization of the use of action as voices. This thesis is therefore about the process of becoming «someone» in an embodied conversation with material and the other(s).