The sense and place of sand in day care

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The motivation behind this chapter is a strong fascination with sand – with the sensous experience of the tiny grains, with the porosity and instability of the material, coupled with its paradoxical heaviness, its massiveness, with its ability to become something else – a castle, a huge concrete building, a glass bowl, a dust cloud – and with its histories rooted in personal and cultural worlds. Doing fieldwork in day care institutions as part of a research project on the encounters between refugee children, their families and Danish day care institutions, my attention was drawn to the place of sandpits and sand at playgrounds, and in the everyday life rhythms of – and tensions between – children, social educators and parents. Sand and play in sand are in many ways a porous in-between material and activity, often (although not always) escaping the educational attention of adults, but also featuring a heavy, inescapable and sensuous 'taken-for-grantedness'. The simultaneous insignificance and weighty importance of sand seem to play a part in processes connecting, and sometimes disconnecting, people, materials, places, and practices in and beyond day care institutions. This chapter is an attempt to explore these processes through a focus on the relations between sand, sensations and place.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIn-Between. Exploring Small Cracks of Everyday Life
EditorsKaren Ida Dannesboe, Jon Dag Rasmussen
Number of pages15
PublisherAarhus Universitetsforlag
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9788772191386
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • research designs, theory and method
  • learning, educational science and teaching


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