The study is in the field of pedagogy and examines newly qualified kindergarten teachers’ professional development as they start working. The aim of the study is to construct new knowledge about kindergarten teachers' pedagogical work with children and their collaboration with parents and other staff. My research questions are:
* How do newly qualified kindergarten teachers experience their competency and further professional qualification during the first year of their career?
* To what extent do the newly qualified kindergarten teachers experience that they are included in mutual learning processes in the workplace?
The project uses a qualitative approach with emphasis on ethnographic methods (Atkinson et al, 2001; Alvesson & Skøldberg, 2008; Grbich, 2007, 2013). Six newly qualified kindergarten teachers have been followed through their first year of work, in different kindergartens. The data are obtained through observation of the kindergarten teachers in their daily work and conversations with their mentors, as well as through interviews and participant accounts. Theories related to the concepts profession and professional qualification (Moos, Krejsler & Laursen, 2004; Molander & Terum, 2008), culture (Säljö, 2001; Bayer & Brinkkjær, 2003), competence (Nygren, 2004) and language (Vygotsky, 1987; Säljö, 2001) are used for analysis and discussion.
The study's main findings:
* After a few months the new kindergarten teachers experienced that they mastered the pedagogical work with the children and showed that they were able to improvise and exercise professional judgement. However, they found it difficult to describe, analyze and evaluate the work they did.
* The new kindergarten teachers experienced most challenges when it came to being head of staff in the sub-division, and also found it difficult describe and analyze these challenges.
* The new kindergarten teachers experienced only to a limited extent that they took part in mutual learning processes in their workplaces. This seems to be related to three different areas of tension: between a horizontal and a vertical discourse (Bernstein, 2001), between pedagogical responsibilities both to children and to assistants, and between the competence to act professionally on the one hand and to describe, analyze and evaluate professional actions on the other (Hellesnes,1984; Molander & Terum, 2008).
The study contributes to a more in-depth understanding of newly qualified kindergarten teachers’ professional development. It can also be an inspiration for further development and research related to the kindergarten teacher profession.