Socially Innovative Reconstruction of Preschool Premises

Reconstrucción Socialmente Innovadora de Infraestructuras Preescolares


In order to shed light on Western public schools as neglected sites of social innovation, the article presents a single case study of a process for reconstruction of preschool premises in a Swedish municipality. Social innovation is discerned in terms of a value-based reconstruction of the schools, aiming to ensure gender equal play, learning and development among the children. The case highlights social innovation as an ideologically and locally contextualized process, reflecting the cultural dynamics and political processes in the public preschool context. It thereto pinpoints the materialization of norms and values in relation to the rooms, furniture and materials of public preschools. The study exposes how these were often ascribed stereotype notions both by the staff in their interaction with the children, and by the children themselves while playing and participating in other activities, thus hampering gender equal play, learning and development.

Key words: gender, norms,preschools,social innovation,values



Con el fin de arrojar luz sobre las escuelas públicas occidentales como sitios desatendidos en el ámbito de la innovación social, el artículo presenta un estudio de caso basado en un proceso de reconstrucción en instalaciones preescolares en un municipio sueco. La innovación social se enfoca en una reconstrucción basada en el valor de las escuelas, con el objetivo de garantizar la igualdad de género, el aprendizaje y el desarrollo entre los niños. El caso destaca la innovación social como un proceso contextualizado ideológicamente y localmente, que refleja la dinámica cultural y los procesos políticos en el contexto público preescolar. Señala la materialización de las normas y valores en relación con las aulas, mobiliario y materiales de los centros preescolares públicos. El estudio expone cómo a menudo los estereotipos se atribuían tanto al personal, en su interacción con los niños, como a los propios niños mientras jugaban y participaban en otras actividades, lo que obstaculizaba el juego equitativo, el aprendizaje y el desarrollo.

Palabras clave: género, normas, preescolares, innovación social, valores.



Author Biographies

Malin Lindberg, Luleå University of Technology

Malin Lindberg is Associate Professor at the Department of Human Work Sciences Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. She conducts research on inclusive innovation and organization, with specific focus on social innovation, place innovation, gendered innovation, idealistic innovation and gender equality innovation in men-dominated industries such as forestry and manufacturing. She specializes in participatory research, where new knowledge is developed jointly between researchers and societal actors.


Jennie Schaeffer, Mälardalen University
Jennie Schaeffer is Head of Division of Information Design at the School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. She is a senior lecturer and a member of the Information Design Research group. Her research interest is in the field of spatial design and artifacts' relation to creative processes and communication. 
Mia Heikkilä, Mälardalen University
Mia Heikkilä is a senior lecturer in pedagogy, with a focus on preschools, at the Academy of Education, Culture and Communication at Mälardalen University. Her research interests are children's learning, focusing on gender, ethnicity and age in the learning process. She is also interested in how preschools as a social institution contribute to the maintenance of the education system and how the activities in preschool can be developed and strengthened through systematic and long-term measures.


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How to Cite
Lindberg, M., Schaeffer, J., & Heikkilä, M. (2019). Socially Innovative Reconstruction of Preschool Premises. European Public & Social Innovation Review, 3(2), 1-13. Retrieved from
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