Sharing rules and creating rules with multicultural children

Children with non-Finnish cultural or linguistic background face challenges
to interact socially in the early childhood education context in
Finland. The new article with Progressive Feedback data clarifies what kind of social roles children typically have in ECE, and what sort of activities and play are
typical to children with Finnish and non-Finnish cultural or linguistic
background. The research data was systematically sampled large-scale
observation data (1147 children, 22,149 observations) of 5–6-year-old
children. According to our findings, non-social roles and less
participative actions were found to be more common among diverse
background children than with Finnish background children. Children
with diverse background were found to be more engaged especially in
rule play but they played less role play. The results suggest
that ECE educators could pay specific attention to play-based
interventions and to the shared cultural creation. In rule play the common context has the same rules for everybody, thus helping multicultural children to find a common ground more easily. However, in role play children create the play rules as the play progresses. In role play children create the play culture in a shared creation of the play world. In the Table, the observed roles of children with multicultural and Finnish background are presented.

Outi Arvola, Kaisa Pankakoski, Jyrki Reunamo & Minna Kyttälä (2020):
Culturally and linguistically diverse children’s participation and social roles in the Finnish Early Childhood Education – is play the common key?, Early Child Development and Care, DOI:10.1080/03004430.2020.1716744
To link to this articl e:

Multicultural children and families in early education

Anna-Leena Lastikka has studied in her licentiate thesis the experiences of multicultural children and families in Finland. The thesis name is Culturally and linguistically diverse children’s and families’ experiences of participation and inclusion in Finnish early childhood education and care. Currently, countries around the world are concerned with migration flows, which set challenges to the development of inclusive ECEC services. It is possible to build (see Figure) an empowering pedagogy that is based on the strengths, knowledge and active participation of children and families. The results of the study imply that to develop an inclusive and participatory ECEC pedagogy, more emphasis should be placed on building social cohesion and mutual understanding among all children, families and educators in the ECEC contexts. One of the thesis article is based on Progressive Feedback data. Read the thesis in here.

Equality & segregation

In Finland, we have been doing research on Early Education for long. Our comprehensive and deep results expose the hidden processes of inequality. The leading Finnish newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, had these research results as main news in 2 August 2019. Early Education can make headlines. This is important, because the processes of inequality are often unconscious and the best way for more equal future is to become aware of the small, but repeating obstacles of equality. The best way to enhance equality is to get a hold of the processes of inequality as early as possible. Read the article.

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!

Facilitating play

At Lego Foundation, we have been writing a white paper about Play facilitation: the science behind the art of engaging young children. The writers are Hanne Jensen, Angela Pyle, Jennifer M. Zosh, Hasina B. Ebrahim, Alejandra Zaragoza Scherman, Jyrki Reunamo and Bridget K. Hamre. Play is important in developing skills, learning, solving problems, in relationships, health and societal development. However, not all play is beneficial. Play facilitates learning when it is joyful, meaningful, actively engaging, iterative and socially interactive. In the paper, it is considered important that play is integrated to all activity, including instruction. The paper includes a lot of research results based on our project. Thank you for everyone for their contribution. The paper is disseminated world-wide by Lego and it is launched officially 27 February 2019 in South Africa.

Orientation project in Turkey

Ege University has use Orientation project tools for observation, child evaluation and learning environment evaluation to study Turkish pre-school. In Turkey, pre-school is usually half-day activity. Often there is only one teacher for a group of twenty-five children. There are interesting differences, but also a lot of interesting similarities. We hope we can start reporting of the results soon!

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.

Participation and immigrant children

A new article about immigrant children’s participation has been published. The research data includes more than 300 immigrant children observed in their daily activities. Especially peer relations are important, but the educator is the one who can help these children in positive participation.  You can read the article by clicking the link below.

Arvola, O., Lastikka, A-L. & Reunamo, J. (2017). Increasing Immigrant Children’s Participation in the Finnish Early Childhood Education Context. The European journal of social & behavioural sciences EJSBS, 20 (3), 2539-2548.

Taiwanese colleagues have arrived

Taiwanese researchers, teachers and students have arrived in Finland. They will be introduced to Finnish Early Education, day care centers, kindergarten teacher studies and research on the subject. Our colleagues also have produced new development models for their work and they are eager to discuss them with Finnish teachers. We have also done similar data collection in Finland and the comparison have resulted in a lot of interesting similarities and differencies across cultures. You can meet the Taiwanese colleagues, for example, at the Progressive feedback conference in 16th August in Helsinki.