Meaning making in Governance and Voluntariness in School-Age Educare

Children playing tug-of-war.

How does children make everyday life in School-Age Educare meaningful? In this study we explore children's meaning making in free play and teacher led activities.

In this study we explore how children make meaning in and through everyday interactions in SAEC. Observations of voluntary and governed activities and group interviews with children gives us opportunities to explore several different perspectives on children’s meaning making in SAEC. Not the least, it gives us insight in children’s own perspectives on free play and teacher participation.

The study contributes to increased knowledge on what children’s meaning making can be and what a meaningful leisure can be for children in Swedish School-Age Educare (SAEC).

SAEC is often described as an educational practice in between governance and voluntariness, materialized in a mix of free play and teacher led activities often aiming at some specific learning or goal. Over 85% of Swedish children aged 6-9 years old spend most of their time outside school hours in SAEC settings. SAEC not only aims in development in learning and academic abilities, but also in democratic values and citizenship Therefore, it is important that children experience SAEC as meaningful and are being able to balance between the voluntary and the governed parts of the educational practice.


Hjalmarsson, M., & Hedrén, S. (submitted). Freedom, integrity and sociability: Children’s perspectives on teacher (non)participation in Swedish School-age educare. Childhood

Research area