Parents’ views on Icelandic preschool education
The aim of the study was to shed light on Icelandic parents’ views on their children’s preschool educations and explore if their views have changed over the last decade. In 2005/2006, focus group interviews were conducted with 43 parents of 5- and 6-year-old children in three preschools in Iceland. In 2016, the same preschools were revisited, and now, 26 parent participants were interviewed. The data from 2005/2006 show that in general parents in these preschools were satisfied with the Nordic preschool tradition, where the emphasis was placed on the broad developmental needs of young children, their well-being, socio-emotional development, and motivation to learn. Several challenges have been facing Icelandic early childhood education and care in the last decade. In an era of increasing globalization, Iceland is faced with academic pushes and pressures to increase accountability. In addition, society is moving from a homogeneous to a multicultural nature. Therefore, it was of interest to explore if parents’ views had changed over the last decade. The findings from the present study indicate that the views of parents have not changed much over the last decade, in spite of changes in the societal and educational landscape. They endorsed play as well as social and personal competences.