Cultural Education Through Children’s Literature

This project is based on two opposing premises. The first hypothesis is based on a survey carried out among Slovene nursery teachers as part of a Zavod Republike Slovenije za šolstvo module, Nursery School, Freedom of Choice, and Difference, which presupposes an educational role of children’s literature in dispelling sterotypes and prejudice towards difference. The second hypothesis operates with the findings of contemporary poststructuralist literary theory and sociology of literature, and therefore claims that on a unconscious, structural level, children’s literature reproduces prejudice toward otherness. Within the scope of these conflicting claims we are going to analyse children’s literature most commonly used in Slovene nursery schools and find arguments that could validate both statements, either the potentially liberating role of children’s literature or its part in naturalisation and stereotypification of otherness.
The second aspect of the project is going to centre around the Scandinavian model (Sweden, Denmark, Norway) of cultural education through children’s literature. As opposed to their Slovene counterparts, Scandinavian curricula define culture, and with it language and literature, as a particular field of activity within nursery schools. Curricula, as well as other instutions and organisations (for instance the Swedish Academy of Children’s Literature, Svenska barnoksakademin), emphasise the role of reading and literature, and aim for the use and analysis of fiction not only in primary language education, but also as part of other subjects in humanities. This brings us to the very outset of the proposed project.
The selection of works in children’s literature that is going to be analysed will be based on a survey and is going to encompass different genre, from folk-tales and traditional fairy-tales to contemporary didactic stories for children. In the research we are going to use quantitative methods (frequency and procentual analysis), the emphasis, however, is going to be placed on qualitative method (various procedures in discursive analysis).
Project leader: Majda Hrženjak
Project coworkers: Živa Jurančič and Valerija Vendramin


The final report Kulturna vzgoja skozi otroško literaturo (in Slovenian, with an English abstract), written by Majda Hrženjak and Valerija Vendramin is available on this page.