How to measure physical activity?

Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health (LIKES) conducts and develops multidisciplinary and applied research on physical activity. Likes is leading the PIILO-project on monitoring joy, physical activity and motor skills in young children. The specific purpose is to improve monitoring physical activity at national level and its use in promoting early childhood education. The project compares different methods of measuring physical activity and motor skills. The project started in spring 2019. Progressive Feedback participates in the project.

`Measuring movement is not a simple matter. In 2019, we compared physical activity indicators in kindergarten. The aim has been to compare the results of accelerometer and observation. The metrics were compared during normal day care days. The pilot was carried out in the vicinity of Jyväskylä in the fall of 2019. The physical activity of the child was measured with accelerometers placed on three different points of the body and a heart rate monitor. In addition to the accelerometer measurements, the physical activity of the child and his or her environment in the kindergarten were observed by three different methods, one of which was Progressive Feedback. Observers have been methodologically trained surveyors.

In 2020, in the second phase of the project, measurements will be carried out in ECEC units. At the end of the project, a report will be completed in 2020, which concludes with a justification of the plan to carry out population monitoring of the movement of young children. More information about the project can be found (in Finnish) at https://www.likes.fi/tutkimus/piilo-tutkimus-ja-kehittamishanke.

From the point of Progressive Feedback, the project is an excellent way to learn more about the reliability of the observation and the validity of the criteria (the relation of observation to other indicators).

CLASS-observation

To check criterion-validity we will compare the Finnish PF-observation and American CLASS-observation. Both observations will be conducted in the same groups. Yasmin Fong from the Education University of Hong Kong visited Finland to train four observers. Now we have four observers licenced to do CLASS-observations in Finland. It will be interesting to compare the Finnish PF with the American Class. Furthermore, it will be even more interesting to compare Finnish and Hong Kong Early Education based on the two observation methods. Yasmin will train Hong Kong observers to use also PF in Hong Kong. The picture is from CLASS training with Roosa-Maria Laaksonen, Mari Sillman, Yasmin Fong, Jenny Hietanen and Jouni Veijalainen.

Is child-centered pedagogy really good for children’s learning?

Professor James Ko from the Education University of Hong Kong is visiting Finland.  We will test children’s self-management and pre-academic skills both in Finland and Hong Kong. Then we will observe children’s activities and teachers’ activities. in the follow-up study we will test the children again, seeking to find out what kind of learning environment and teaching style is best for children’s learning. This will help teachers, policymakers and parents understand how effective teaching in two contrastive contexts longitudinally affects children’s learning and their influences at multiple levels of surrounding contexts (classroom, school, education system). We will:
1. Examine the relationships between effective teaching and childhood development:
a) Whether children can learn more from teachers who show more positive teacher-student interactions;
b) Whether child-led, play-based teaching and teacher-led, academically-focused teaching approach have different impacts;
c) Whether a dominant type of teaching approach results in different learning outcomes;
2. To examine a) whether the above relationships change or strengthen over time (following up across three school years) and b) whether there are individual differences.

In the picture, you can see James presenting the pre-academic test. In our project we have already found several key indicators for a deep zone of proximal development. This is the first time we study the longitudinal effect of that zone!

Funding for the research

Jenny & Antti Wihuri foundation has granted Jouni Veijalainen 24 000 euro to finish his doctoral thesis about children’s self-regulation in early education. The same foundation also granted Outi Arvola 7 000 euro to complete her doctoral thesis on multicultural children in early education. Both are using project data on their thesis. Congratulations!

Tunisia, World bank & UNICEF cooperation

The Tunisian Ministry of Women, Family and Children partnered with Fun Academy to provide equitable and high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Tunisia. The World Bank and UNICEF are providing the international and technical support for this initiative. The delegation visited University of Helsinki in August to seek possibilities for early childhood development (ECD) and protection. The Orientation Project provides excellent auditing tools to observe how lessons, activities and routines within an early years setup are correlated with ECD outcomes.

Hong Kong & Finnish Early Education Research funding

Exiting news just arrived from Hong Kong Research Fund (GRF) 2018/19 exercise. Our proposal entitled “Effective Teaching and Their Effects on Early Childhood Development: A Comparative, Longitudinal, Mixed-method Study of Hong Kong and Finnish Kindergartens”, has been supported by the RGC with an approved amount of HK$1,369,000. Warmest congratulations for professor James Ko from the Education University of Hong Kong. Thank you also for Pamela Sammons from the University of Oxford. We will work out the details of the research in 2018  and the data collection starts in 2019. In the picture you can see James, Pam and Jyrki preparing the research plan at EARLI 2018 conference in Tampere.

PF in China

Progressive Feedback (PF) cooperation between Finland and China is getting concrete. On Thursday 26 April 2018, In the Chinese Ministry of Education, Department of Ethnic Minorities, we agreed to conduct Chinese early education enhancement research & development project based on Finnish PF. We will have close working research teams in Finland and China. We’ll have 200 observers trained by Finnish experts to get a valid picture of Chinese early education and to give guidelines for future development. The picture is from the successful meeting at the Ministry. From the left is Tibet representant Sherab Songmo, Jouni Veijalainen, Jyrki Reunamo, the Director of the National Education Development Center Yan Guo, mr Han, the Director of the Center for Quality Monitoring and Research Xianqiang Zhou and Frank Wen.

Progressive feedback available for the cities and early educators

It is one small step for early educator, one giant leap for early education! To start using the new progressive feedback interface with a regular web-browser. In the interface there are both readymade analysis and a possibility to edit the results in many ways, resulting in a versatile and real-time feedback for the early educators. Now the cities have access to Finnish results in real time. What’s more, now the city’s own results can be seen in comparison. We have started a new era in the evaluation, feedback and development of Early Childhood Education.