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    Vygotsky's sociocultural theory and Gibson’s theory about affordances (1979), as well ecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) are the theoretical background for this study. Based on Bronfenbrenner (1979) theory, this study aims to examine the Greek and Norwegian curriculum and policy documents (children’s macrosystem), the prospective early childhood professionals’ perspectives (children’s microsystem), how kindergarten settings (children’s microsystem) operate. This research investigates the Greek and Norwegian prospective early childhood professionals’ views on learning and playing outdoors, and compares the findings. We build on previous comparative researches (Gessiou & Sakellariou, 2016, Gessiou, 2015) on preschool teachers’ views on children's learning outdoors in Greece and Austria. Current literature recognizes the importance of outdoor experiences in early learning and development, however there is a concern that current research and provision in Greece can be impoverished and inadequate since they do not enable children to play, learn and relate to the outdoor environment. On the other hand, in Norway, issues related to physical environment appears to be discussed since the 1970s, focusing on nature and the outdoor environment (Moser & Martinsen, 2010). The new trends in outdoor learning created the expectation that educators should engage learning with outdoors and nature, however does the undergraduate studies offers opportunities thus the future educator acquire the particular knowledge/ skills that form the basis for quality practice outdoors? The research has a comparative approach using a quantitative individual research questionnaire that will be distributed to undergraduate students in Greece and Norway (Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Ioannina, Greece and Department of Early Childhood Education, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø Norway) and focuses on the following main questions: 1. What are the undergraduate students’ perspectives on outdoor learning in Greece and Norway? 2. Are their views and practices influenced of their undergraduate training on outdoor learning and play? 3. What are their views regarding the outdoor kindergartens’ environments in each country? 4. What are their recommendations? The study is in progress so the final findings will be presented at the conference. The findings might have implications for policy and practice and will open new theoretical discussions on outdoor learning and play for both countries.
    This paper outlines a research that is designed to provide an insight of outdoor learning in Greece based on kindergarten teachers’ perceptions. In a previous comparative research of ours (Gessiou & Sakelalriou, 2015) we found that physical factors alone were insufficient as determinants of learning outdoors because social, cultural and personal factors were equally significant. Additionally, considering the tremendous lack of literature and research review in Greece, regarding outdoor learning there is an imperative need for further research. We consider that a key element, between embedding outdoor learning in the formal Greek Early Years Settings and preparing schools for a new age in learning environments, is to examine the views and perceptions of the main characters of learning (children- teachers- parents- society). This paper focus on the teachers’ view, trying to examine a) their past memories and recollections of childhood relate to 'outdoor' places, b) their present feelings regarding the structure of the outdoor school grounds c) their present conceptions of outdoor learning and the educational use of outdoor environments and d) their views and recommendations for a possible future “outdoor classroom”. The research tools correspond to 10 semi- structured interviews and 10 monthly calendars that teachers completed, focusing on their practices in outdoor environments. Our early findings reveal that teachers detect a significant relation between outdoor environments, children’s development, well-being and rich social exchange. It is also being revealed that even if there are ties of affection regarding outdoor environments, they cannot be comfortably embraced by school’s everyday life since the dominant culture devalues these environments.
    Οι εμπειρίες από τους εξωτερικούς και αύλειους χώρους, συνήθως αποτυπώνονται ως εμπειρίες ζωής. Οι μαθησιακές εμπειρίες στους εξωτερικούς χώρους, είτε στα πλαίσια των σχολικών αύλειων χώρων είτε στις εξορμήσεις πέρα των σχολικών πλαισιών, προσφέρουν συνάφεια και βάθος στο πρόγραμμα σπουδών, με τρόπους που είναι δύσκολο να επιτευχθούν μέσα στις σχολικές τάξεις. Μαθαίνοντας έξω από τα όρια της σχολικής τάξης μπορεί να είναι ιδαιέτερα διασκεδαστικό, δημιουργικό, περιπετειώδης, γεμάτο προκλήσεις βοηθώντας τα παιδιά να μάθουν μέσα από τις εμπειρίες τους. Η πρόταξη της συγκεκριμένης ερευνητικής προσέγγισης έγκειται στο γεγονός ότι ενώ σε διεθνές επίπεδο υπάρχει ένα ενεργό πεδίο έρευνας που αποδεικνύει τη παιδαγωγική σπουδαιότητα των υπαίθριων χώρων αγωγής και προτείνει μετασχηματιστικές αλλαγές στα προγράμματα σπουδών προκειμένου να φιλοξενήσουν την μάθηση στους εξωτερικούς χώρους (Outdoor Learning), σε εθνικό επίπεδο έχει παραμεληθεί παντελώς τόσο η διερεύνηση της ποιότητας των αύλειων χώρων των νηπιαγωγείων όσο και η επιμόρφωση των εκπαιδευτικών επί του θέματος. Η ανάγκη για ποιοτική έρευνα σε εθνικό επίπεδο σχετικά με τα περιβάλλοντα μάθησης είναι επιτακτική, ειδικά εάν αναλογιστούμε την περίπτωση της Ελλάδας, το μεσογειακό κλίμα και τις ευκαιρίες που μπορούν να προσφέρουν τα φυσικά χαρακτηριστικά του ελλαδικού χώρου στην μάθηση σε υπαίθριους χώρους. Mελετάμε την ποιότητα ορισμένων υπαίθριων χώρων νηπιαγωγείων και τον τρόπο αξιοποίησή τους σε ένα συγκριτικό πλαίσιο ( Νάουσα- Ίννσμπρουκ), μέσω των ημιδομημένων συνεντεύξεων με τις νηπιαγωγούς και την παρατήρηση των αντίστοιχων χώρων, τη διαμόρφωση , τη δομή και τη ποιότητα, αυτών.
    Computer games have been exploited in educational procedures, since they help in fostering creativity, in familiarization with technology, and develop problem-solving, logical thinking, communication, and collaborative skills (Sicart 2009). Games is a symptom of our societies and offer learning and strong educational advantages, as they fully motivate and engage students. The term “game” refers to a wide range of activities but, researchers (Juul, 2003, Crawford, 2003) stated that it is difficult to define in terms of necessary and sufficient features. Moreover Grendler (1996, pp. 523) defines games as “consisting of rules that describe allowable player moves, game constraints and privileges (such as ways of earning extra turns) and penalties for illegal (non permissible) actions. Further the rules may be imaginative in that they need not relate to real world-events.” According to Deterding, Sicart, Nacke, O'Hara and Dixon (2011), gamification “is an informal umbrella term for the use of video game elements in non-gaming systems to improve user experience (UX) and user engagement”. Thus, game designers intent to identify and create non-game contexts, products, like points into the game, affecting the players' attitudes and ideas. According to Dang et al. (2007) new video games are ethically affecting people who play them. Additionally, the ethical issues include: violence, rating, education, stereotyping against women, community and addiction. Since computer games usage is increasingly spreading, concern must be placed on the ethical issues that are built in them. There are many games involving violent acts as well as other content related to violence. Thus, many people may believe that playing these types of video games can cause a person to be more violent (Dang et al., 2007). From the education perspective, gaming can be used to teach different things, some positive while others are negative. Educational system must play important role in the ethical improvement of game culture. Responsible game developers need to be informed and take under consideration the research findings concerning the effects of the medium they utilize. Also, game designers and developers need to make knowledgeable decisions for the game content, purpose and goals (Dodig-Crnkovic and Larsson, 2005). Another idea is to design games whose specific goal is to teach ethical principles.
    Οι εκπαιδευτικοί σήμερα, είναι σημαντικοί φορείς αλλαγής και εργαζόμενοι της γνώσης, οι οποίοι αποτελούν καθοριστική παράμετρο στην επίδοση των μαθητών. Ο ρόλος τους επανακαθορίζεται σημαντικά στην πολυπολιτισμική πραγματικότητα των σύγχρονων κοινωνιών. Η αναγκαιότητα απόκτησης από πλευράς εκπαιδευτικών μιας διαπολιτισμικής ικανότητας είναι πρόδηλη ώστε αυτοί να διαχειριστούν με αποδοτικό τρόπο την διαφορετικότητα του μαθητικού πληθυσμού. Στόχος των σύγχρονων εκπαιδευτικών δεν είναι η απλή ενσωμάτωση της διαφοράς, αλλά η συμπερίληψή της αφού αυτή θεωρείται ως δυναμικό στοιχείο που μετασχηματίζει την ταυτότητα των μαθητών και τον τρόπο μάθησής τους. Οι διαφορές δηλαδή μπορούν και πρέπει να αξιοποιηθούν ως παραγωγικό συγκριτικό πλεονέκτημα (Kalantzis & Cope, 2013) προωθώντας τον κοσμοπολιτισμό (Beck, 2009). Ο τεράστιος πλούτος ατομικών διαφορών που παρατηρείται, αναφέρεται σε υλικές, σε σωματικές και σε συμβολικές διαφορές (Kalantzis & Cope, 2013, σ. 59). Από την άλλη πλευρά ο διαπολιτισμικά ικανός εκπαιδευτικός κατέχει μια ολόκληρωμένη διαπολιτισμική ικανότητα, η οποία ορίζεται στη βάση των κατακτημένων διαπολιτισμικών γνώσεων, δεξιοτήτων και στάσεων. Ανάμεσα στις διαπολιτισμικές δεξιότητες των εκπαιδευτικών, ξεχωρίζουν οι επικοινωνιακές, αφού μέσα από το διάλογο προωθείται η αναστοχαστικότητα και η συμμετοχική δράση στις σύγχρονες σχολικές κοινότητες μάθησης. Ενώ σημαντική διαπολιτισμική στάση είναι η διαπολιτισμική ευαισθητοποίηση (διαπροσωπική ή γενικευμένη), δηλαδή η διαμόρφωση θετικής προδιάθεσης για την κατανόηση και την εκτίμηση των πολιτιστικών διαφορών που την αποτελεσματική επικοινωνία, η ενεργή συμμετοχή σε διαπολιτισμικές συναντήσεις και τέλος η αυτοπεποίθηση και δέσμευση του ατόμου σε πανανθρώπινες αξίες και δικαιώματα (Chen, 1997. Αρβανίτη, 2009). Η συνειδητότητα, η ευρύτητα πνεύματος, η συμμετοχικότητα και η ενσυναίσθηση είναι σημαντικές εκφάνσεις της διαπολιτιμικής ευαισθητοποίησης. Η παρούσα εισήγηση αποτελεί μια συγκριτική διερεύνηση του επιπέδου διαπολιτισμικής ευαισθητοποίησης των τεταρτοετών φοιτητών προσχολικής εκπαίδευσης των πανεπιστημίων Πατρών και Ιωαννίνων σύμφωνα με την κλίμακα των Chen & Starosta (2000 πάνω σε πέντε διαστάσεις: την ετοιμότητα εμπλοκής κατά την αλληλεπίδραση, το σεβασμό στις πολιτισμικές διαφορές, την άνεση/ εμπιστοσύνη κατά την αλληλεπίδραση, την ευχαρίστηση καθώς και την παρατηρητικότητα από την αλληλεπίδραση.
    This paper analyses an instructional design artifact, produced by three Greek teachers, reflecting on the notion of 'time' in teaching second language learners. In the modern world, 'temporalities' and 'spatialities' are important social constructs, and the way they are understood and deployed can reveal how people of different cultural backgrounds make meaning of them. These notions, therefore, can be used to shape real world contexts for 'scaffolded' learning, which makes these differences explicit. The purposeful use of new digital tools for instructional and curriculum design can create inclusive and transformative second language environments where difference is a productive resource for achieving learning outcomes. This artifact analysis uses 'Learning by Design', an epistemological framework that facilitates intercultural education, senses of belonging, agency, and transformative learning for an inclusive citizenry.
    Though a host of research has explored the association between beliefs and practices, limited research has been undertaken exploring the association between beliefs and intentions. Considering the potentially important influence of teachers' beliefs on their practices, the present study aimed to examine what, if anything, Greek and Cypriot pre-service kindergarten teachers had in common in terms of self-reported beliefs and self-reported intentions concerning the importance of teacher–child interactions and the relationship between them. Pearson correlations and one-way ANOVA analyses were used to compare overall mean scores for beliefs with those of intentions. Research results indicated that nationality does not predict mean scores in the Beliefs and Intentions Scales. Statistically significant differences were revealed only on independent items, on both scales. Finally, correlation analysis revealed that pre-service students' beliefs predict their intentions.
    The experiences children have and the attachments they form early in life have a decisive, long-lasting impact on their later development and learning. The present study aims at exploring the continuum of the beliefs reported by Greek pre-service kindergarten teachers and how those beliefs relate to their intensions about the importance of teacher–child interactions. When examining how teaching beliefs influence the way in which teachers interact with children, it may be potentially important to assess teaching intensions as well. Though a vast amount of research has explored the association between teachers’ beliefs and practices, scarce research has examined the relationship between beliefs and intensions. This study is designed to examine Greek pre-service kindergarten teachers’ self-reported beliefs and intensions on aspects of early childhood educators–children interaction. Research results indicate that participants favour sensitive and appropriate caregiving in both their beliefs and intensions. Yet, data reveal that participants’ beliefs are more developmentally appropriate than are their intensions. Correlation analysis shows that pre-service kindergarten teachers’ beliefs do not correlate with their intension.
    Based on arguments according to which the concept of quality is multifaceted, difficult to be defined and defined differently by various stakeholders, it has been suggested that the quality of care and education be evaluated from different perspectives if one aims to create a global picture of the early childhood education and care programmes. The present study aimed to examine the level of quality and care provided by Greek preschool programmes from the researcher's and parents' perspectives and verify whether they evaluated using the same mechanism. Correlation analysis indicated that the parents rated the quality of care and education provided by their child's classrooms higher compared with the researcher. The age and level of education were found to correlate with the parents' ratings. Thus, the type of setting was found to correlate both with the researcher's and parents' ratings. The research results suggest that the quality of care and education is a relative concept and, substantiating the previous research results, highlight the need to take into account the perspectives of all those involved (parents, children and educators) when attempts are being made to define and evaluate the quality.
    The continuum of beliefs reported by Greek pre-service kindergarten teachers and how those beliefs relate to classroom practices are explored in this article. Considering the potentially important influence of teachers’ beliefs on their practices, the level of early childhood teachers’ beliefs about developmentally appropriate practices (DAPs) and the relationship between their beliefs and practices are regarded as important topics of study in early childhood education. This study was designed in order to investigate Greek pre-service kindergarten teachers’ self-reported beliefs and practices related to the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s policy statement for DAP. Research results indicated that participants favour DAP both as far as their beliefs and the instructional activities they implement are concerned. Even though the analysis indicated correlations among DAP and developmentally inappropriate practice (DIP) beliefs and practices, beliefs have not been found to predict practices.
    Although a host of research has explored the association between beliefs and practices, limited research has been conducted exploring the association between beliefs and intensions. The present study aimed to explore Cypriot pre-service kindergarten teachers’ self-reported beliefs and intensions about the importance of teacher/child interactions and the relationship between them. Interaction has been chosen to be the focus of the present study due to the fact that research results indicate that one of the most important indicators of the quality of early childhood education and care is sensitive and responsive caregiving. Research results indicated that participating pre-service kindergarten teachers favor sensitive and appropriate caregiving. Thus, beliefs have been found to predict the sample’s intensions.
    Considering the potentially important influence of teachers' beliefs on their practices, the purpose of the present study was to examine what, if anything, pre-service kindergarten teachers from Greece and Cyprus had in common in terms of self-reported beliefs and self-reported practices related to the National Association for the Education of Young Children's policy statement for developmentally appropriate practices. Pearson correlations and one-way analysis of variance were used to compare overall mean scores for beliefs measured by the Teachers Beliefs Scale to those of practices measured by the Instructional Activities Scale. Research analyses revealed both similarities and differences as far as Cypriots' and Greeks' beliefs and practices are concerned. Nationality has been found to be correlated with the mean score assigned in the total survey. Further, beliefs have been found to predict self-reported practices.
    Though quality in early childhood education and care has attracted last decades enormous research interest there is still not a unanimous agreement about its definition. Yet, almost all definitions attempted include interaction, group size, adult:child ratio and early childhood educators’ level of education, as important indices of quality. Relationships are key resources for young children. There is agreement among researchers that the quality of caregiving by professional caregivers in child care centres has been established as an important influence on various aspects of child development. Thus, structural characteristics have been proven to affect programs’ quality of services provided. The purpose of this research study was twofold: (1) to explore the quality of interaction between Greek early childhood educators and children; and (2) to record the structural characteristics of Greek child care centres. Correlations among structural characteristics and type of interaction were also examined. Research data indicate that Greek early childhood educators are positive but at the same time detached and permissive during their interaction with children, a finding that disputes their positive interaction. Thus, Greek child care centres have been found to adopt, based on Greek legislation, high ratios and group sizes, a finding which raises questions about the effects on children’s well being and development. Limited correlations have been found between the type of interaction and the structural characteristics. Research data highlight the need for further research to undergone and for changes in Greek legislation, concerning the operation of Greek child care centres. KeywordsGreek child care centres–Adult-children interaction–Group size–Adult:child ratio–Structural characteristics–Caregiver Interaction Scale–Early childhood education and care
    In this article we refer to the cooperation between University researchers, kindergarten teachers and parents in order to plan a Research of Action and intervention so as to facilitate the normal passage of the children from the Kindergarten to Primary school. In this project sixty families took part. The data analysis within the scope of the descriptive research shows that this cooperation is characterized by three themes: a. The project participants for the children passage from kindergarten to primary school are different as far as the passage practices are concerned. b. Parents and kindergarten teachers shared through practice positive opinions about not only the activities of the project but also about the roles the played. c. Kindergarten teachers were considered as an important support sourcefor the normal children passage but also supportive for the parents. Extracts from the participants' impressions in the Research-Action, substantiate the value of such a cooperation, while they clarify its character offering more comprehension. © Common Ground, Maria Sakellariou, Irene Sivropoulou, All Rights Reserved.
    Our article is a searching registration towards the wider understanding of the mothers' opinions about education in Kindergarten. The motive for that became the scientific substantiation of empirical research that: a. the participation of mothers in the pedagogical work of Kindergartens depends on the information as far as the preschool education is concerned and b. their positive position is a herald of a permanent cooperation to the preschool programs(Powell,1989,Sakellariou,2008) Sixty interviews with of preschool children mothers took place. After the data analysis concerning our research, we recorded a positive opinion of the mothers for the education of kindergarteners through an big amount of variables. The research results are also interpreted with extracts from the interviews which substantiate the presentation of the problem offering better understanding.
    Το κεφάλαιο αυτό εξετάζει τις παγκόσμιες πολιτικές, οικονομικές και πολιτισμικές αλλαγές που δημιούργησαν ένα νέο διεθνές εκπαιδευτικό περιβάλλον (Kalantzis 2002) και άλλαξαν το πολιτισμικό και θρησκευτικό προφίλ του σύγχρονου κόσμου (Cahill 2003). Από πολλούς μελετητές η παγκοσμιοποίηση θεωρείται ως ένας σημαντικός παράγοντας που επηρεάζει θετικά και αρνητικά τη διαμόρφωση και εξέλιξη των θρησκευτικών ζητημάτων στον 21ο αιώνα. Στις αρνητικές επιπτώσεις της παγκοσμιοποίησης καταγράφονται δεδομένα όπως η δημιουργία των αστικών κρατών (secular states), η επιβολή μιας παγκόσμιας κουλτούρας, η προώθηση του καταναλωτισμού και του υλισμού. Ωστόσο από την άλλη πλευρά η παγκοσμιοποίηση δημιουργεί νέες δυνατότητες επικοινωνίας σε διεθνοποιημένα θρησκευτικά δίκτυα, καθώς διεθνοποιούνται οι τοπικές κουλτούρες και εξειδικεύεται η παγκόσμια κουλτούρα (global culture). Η απάντηση των θρησκειών απέναντι στις ομογενοποιητικές δυνάμεις της παγκοσμιοποίησης και των δυνάμεων της αγοράς είναι η έμφαση σε έναν τρόπο ζωής που προάγει την πνευματικότητα (Wuthnow 1991). Έτσι στο πλαίσιο των σύγχρονων κοινωνιών το αυξανόμενο ενδιαφέρον για τις θρησκείες αποτελεί μια απάντηση σε μια ολοένα και πιο εξελιγμένη τεχνολογικά κοινωνία και στα σύγχρονα διλήμματα που αυτή δημιουργεί (Thomas 2000). Παράλληλα τα εκπαιδευτικά συστήματα καλούνται να διαχειριστούν τον πολιτισμικό και θρησκευτικό πλουραλισμό με σύγχρονες διαπολιτισμικές προσεγγίσεις συμβάλλοντας στην οικοδόμηση κοινωνιών συνοχής και στην παγκόσμια ειρήνη. Η θρησκευτική αγωγή αποκτά νέο νόημα και περιεχόμενο σε έναν κόσμο που η ανάγκη για απανακαθορισμό των παραμέτρων της ετερότητας και για αυτοκαθορισμό της ταυτότητας συναντά την ανάγκη βιωματικών, συμμετοχικών και στοχαστικοκριτικών τρόπων μάθησης και διδασκαλίας. Το παρόν κεφάλαιο αποτελεί μια πρώτη προσέγγιση των θεμάτων θρησκευτικής αγωγής υπό το πρίσμα της διαπολιτισμικότητας σκιαγραφώντας τις στάσεις και τις γνώσεις εκπαιδευτικών στην προσχολική και πρωτοσχολική εκπαίδευση στην Ελλάδα.
    The care and education of children is a shared responsibility among the family, educators, caregivers and the community. Yet, each of the above settings may wish different types of cooperation and partnership. The present study intents to examine partnership with families and communities in Greek preschool settings from two perspectives: that of the researcher and that of early childhood educators. More precisely, the present study aims: a) to clarify whether Greek programs' policies promote parental and community involvement, b) to ascertain the types of communication and partnership between families and early childhood educators and c) to examine the differences and similarities in the way researchers and early childhood educators view that issue. In particular, using ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment, researchers evaluated 27 Greek preschool classrooms, towards aspects of partnership with families. Thus, 26 early childhood educators, from the above mentioned classrooms, were given ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment in order to evaluate the same aspects. © Common Ground, Maria Sakellariou, Konstantina Rentzou, All Rights Reserved.
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