Meaningful leisure time in school-age educare: the value of friends and collective strategies

Karin Lager, Jan Gustafsson-Nyckel, Education in the North

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The aim of this article is to investigate how children perceive and experience their opportunities to create meaningful leisure time in Swedish school-age educare. In this study, children’s perspectives on meaningful leisure time are investigated through interviews with 170 children aged 6-11 years in 45 groups. The theory of structuration is used to analyse children’s agency in relation to structure, and the findings are presented as four different practices and themes: Strategic actions in collective practices, Shared meaningful leisure time in normative practices, The struggle for meaning in individual practices, and Lack of affordance in meaningless practices. The results are discussed in relation to children’s agency and the conditions for daily practice, which show that children use both individual and collective strategies as well as resistance to create meaningful leisure time. In addition, the study also shows that in a collective organization, friends are the children´s most important resource in school-age educare. The result is interpreted with help from a dualistic perspective on how meaningfulness is created.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-100
Number of pages18
JournalEducation in the North
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • school-age educare
  • children’s perspectives
  • meaningful leisure time
  • strategies
  • structuration


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