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A Finnish Perspective of Early Childhood Education

Chapter in book
Authors Patricia Giardiello
Tarja Karlsson Häikiö
Ulla Härkönen
Liisa Lohilahti
Naomi McLeod
Published in Empowering Early Childhood Educators: International Pedagogies as Provocation
Pages 138-155
ISBN 9781138309647
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Oxon England, New York USA
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Design and Crafts
Pages 138-155
Language en
Keywords child participation, early childhood education, preschool, primary eduation, primary school, professionalisation
Subject categories Children, Pedagogy, Learning


The distinctive nature of Finnish Early Childhood Education and Care In Finland, as in the other Nordic countries, the concept Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) has traditionally been based on influences largely sought through developmental psychology (Rantala 2016; Taguma, Litjens, and Makowiecki 2013). Constructivistic influence has over time developed into a wide range of perspectives, and the social-constructivist approach to knowledge creation has challenged the child's individual learning-oriented, constructivist concept of information, and has raised a more perceptual understanding of learning cultural factors (Karlsson Häikiö, 2017). These paradigmatic changes in the field of early childhood education encompasses changes in the perception of the power relationship between child and adult and the quality of teaching (Hujala, Fonsén & Elo, 2012). Finland as a country is politically situated between the so called east and west. As in most European countries, Finland has strong international roots which offers a wide socio-cultural historical basis for early childhood pedagogy in Finland. From a historical perspective, the most noted influence in early childhood education has come from Germany, through the work of Friedrich Froebel’s principles on children’s growth (Salminen, 2017, p. 135), but also from many other countries in Europe, from Russia, North America, South America, and more recently from Australia and New Zealand. Finland in the main is influenced by Swedish pedagogical theories such as Dialogpedagogik (dialogic pedagogy) (Schyl-Bjurman and Strömberg-Lind, 1976) and Ansvarspedagogik (problem based pedagogy) (Bladsjö et al., 1984). During the 1970s Soviet Union pedagogy was also an influence (for example, Sukhomlinsky, 2016). During the last twenty years or so Finnish educational professionals have developed contacts and projects with colleagues in Baltic countries (Petersson et al., 2016). Also Te Whāriki pedagogy from New Zealand has become known in Finland. As later on described and exemplified in this Chapter, the Reggio Emilia Approach has come to play an important part with its pedagaogical philosophy.

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