Children’s time use and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in early childhood education and care in Finland

Anna-Liisa Kyhälä with Jyrki Reunamo and Juha Valtonen have written an article about children’s physical activity in different children’s activities. The article will be published in South African Journal of Childhood Education. The article highlights rule plays as important factors in increasing children’s physical activity in early education.

Children with special needs in the everyday interaction of early childhood education

An article based on the Progressive Feedback data has been published in the European Journal of Special Needs Education. In the research, the most common reason why children had a need for support in ECEC was difficulties related to self-regulation. Effective self-regulation is fundamental to an individual’s functioning and early childhood is an important period for the development of self-regulation. Professionals working in ECEC are responsible for supporting children in situations in which self-regulation skills are needed. Our results were in line with studies indicating that children with low self-regulation skills are at increased risk of being left outside joint play. This result is worrying because joint play supports the development of self-regulation skills while solitary play does not have that effect. This means that the very children who need to practice their self-regulation skills are missing a potential opportunity to do that. Children prefer prosocial peers and neglect antisocial peers, which makes establishing friendships even more difficult if the child already has difficulties in forming peer relationships and does not have the skills to act in situations that require social skills. Being left outside causes negative feelings towards peers and negative feelings may cause antisocial behaviour or vice versa. This may cause a vicious circle that is difficult to break. Therefore, early intervention is essential. Click the link to read the article:

Kuutti, T., Sajaniemi, N., Björn, P., Heiskanen, N. & Reunamo, J. (2021). Participation, involvement and peer relationships in children with special educational needs in early childhood education. European Journal of Special Needs Education. Available at

Dissertation on Culturally and linguistically diverse children’s participation and learning

The Faculty of Education of the University of Turku has granted Outi Arvola a dissertation permit to defend her dissertation “Can you play with me? Culturally and linguistically diverse children’s participation and learning in the context of Finnish Early Childhood Education” in a public dissertation. Congratulations!

The material of the dissertation is the Progressive Feedback data. It highlights in a unique way how broad structural factors are clearly reflected in the close interaction of early childhood education as mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion. The future of the inclusion of children from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds is being built right now in early childhood education.

Indigenous children’s early education in Taiwan

Indigenous peoples in Taiwan are widespread in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, although today they are a small minority, mainly in the mountainous areas of eastern Taiwan. Pictured is a children’s teacher with a map depicting areas where Taiwan’s indigenous genetic heritage still lives strong. The impact extends as far as Hawaii. The heritage and culture of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples are thus still strong in an area that covers more than 10% of the world’s surface! A wonderful teacher, aware of her and children’s roots, who guides children to face the challenges of the future.

Professor Elaine Shih and her team at Taitung University have just completed an observation on early childhood education for Indigenous peoples in Taiwan using Developing Feedback Observation. The material provides a unique picture of the current situation and upbringing of Indigenous children in Taiwan. Direct, random observations provide information about the daily life of these children and the factors that affect their well-being. This knowledge is important for these children, who are threatened in many ways and at risk of exclusion. The results include a wealth of clear development opportunities for children growing up in a vulnerable situation. A total of 1556 observations were made this time.


Pedagogical leadership

The article “Pedagogical leadership and children’s well-being in Finnish early education” by Elina Fonsen, Jyrki Reunamo, Leena Lahtinen and Mari Sillman has been published in the journal Educational Management Administration & Leadership. The article uses the data of the Progressive Feedback. The results show a link between a leader’s pedagogical leadership and children’s observed activities, including learning, positive emotions, physical activity, and participation. In addition, a there is a link between the need for pedagogical leadership assessed by staff and leadership assessed by the manager, which emphasizes the need for the manager to focus on pedagogical leadership and staff involvement. The results provide a perspective that allows the director to focus on the primary task of early childhood education, the well-being of children.

The table above summarizes the themes related to good pedagogical leadership. The director of the kindergarten could attach the table to his wall and check out the most important things of his own management once a week!

Creativity in Early Education

Teemu Nikkola et al. have written an article about creativity in education ‘Children’s creative thinking abilities and social orientations in Finnish early childhood education and care’. The journal is Early Child Development and Care. The data is from Progressive Feedback. The perspective of creativity is important both from the personal and environmental points of view. Creativity includes all kinds of everyday activities in kindergarten – not just arts or planned creativity. The personal aspects of creativity highlight the importance of valuing children’s creative efforts, even though the act may have been created by others previously. The environmental aspects of creativity highlight the importance of children participating in the creation of both the curriculum content and educational conduct. The article is open access and can be downloaded from the link at the end of the post.

In the table, we can see how child interviews and separately conducted creativity test (Torrance) are related. In participative orientation, children concern the situation and intend to change it. The strategy highlights contact with others’ and children’s agency. In participation, children learn to build the future while at the same time considering others. The sooner the children can practice their creative abilities, the better they are ready to take part in the creation of their lives and also the lives of others. Teemu is strongly weaving creativity into the everyday experiences of children and the creation of early education. Click the link below!

Nikkola, T., Reunamo, J. & Ruokonen, I. (2020). Children’s creative thinking abilities and social orientations in Finnish early childhood education and care. Early Child Development and Care.

Children as quality evaluators of early childhood education

An article based on Progressive Feedback data Children’s negative experiences as a part of quality evaluation in early childhood education and care has been accepted for publication in the journal Early Child Development and Care. Children’s evaluations have been used in Progressive Feedback since 2011. In the article, children’s views in evaluating early childhood education is central. The data consists of 5 439 child interviews conducted by the children’s parents and guardians. Peer relations are central to children and difficulties in peer interaction are central to all children in every age group. Children’s views provide essential first hand experiences. Processing children views between adults help the staff and parents to consider children’s point of view. Processing children’s views together with children provides an opportunity to practice interaction skills together with others. Additionally, children’s views help adults to consider children’s solutions. Furthermore,  children’s evaluations help children to learn to impact their own lifes and also the shared commynity with others.  Children’s experience in belonging together with other children is important. Four-year-old children reported most negative peer experiences. The negativity of daily activities increase as children grow older. Also adults’ guidance is experienced more negative as children grow older. For the smallest children the descriptions are often concrete descriptions of mental of physical discomfort. In the table can be seen the trends in children’s negative experiences as children grow older in early childhood education. The article can be accessed at

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:

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

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).