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The Child and Curriculum. Existential Questions and Educational Responses

Research project This study aims to generate new knowledge on children’s existential questions as educational concerns, both as expressions of their worldviews and as questions seeking knowledge that are calling for educational responses. Children’s existential questions, are compared with material from 1970s and onwards. Responses in curricula from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany, as well as teachers’ work are examined. The crucial question is what encounter takes place between the Child and Curriculum?

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2019-01-01 2024-12-31


The Swedish Research Council, 2018-03435

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Applied Educational Science Research, Faculty of Social Sciences

Research area

Educational sciences

Project description

Contemporary, there is a strong focus on achievements and outcomes of education which make the risk of neglecting the learners and their interest obvious. Therefore a project aiming at understanding the relation between children's questions and educational responses is crucial.

In this project qualitative studies of the relationship between child and curriculum are undertaken in three parts:

  1. a newly generated data-material is compared to archival data-material with a focus on 11 to 12-year-old children's expressions of their existential questions.;
  2. educational responses to children's existential questions are studied through curricula, didactical approaches, and teacher interviews on their practices;
  3. the results from these two parts are brought into a critical 'dialogue' where the results are used for curriculum and didactical development.

This four-year-study is based at Umeå University (UmU), where archival material of children's existential questions from 1970s to early 2000s is stored. It is carried out by two UmU researchers and two additional researchers, one from Gothenburg University and one from Aalborg University, Denmark.

Latest update: 2024-04-11