AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Enhancing children's participation in early childhood education through participatory pedagogy

by Jonna Kangas

Institution: University of Helsinki
Year: 2016
Keywords: kasvatustiede
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2068520
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/159547


Children's participation in early childhood education has raised concern and discussion in the international researches lately. Young children have been considered to have lack of participation experiences in early education settings because of institutional policies, social understanding about childhood and perspectives of educators (Bae, 2009; Emilson and Folkesson, 2006; Smith, 2002). Focus of children as active agents of their own development through sociocultural learning paradigm the approach of participatory learning has been considered important in early childhood education and research (Berthelsen, Brownlee and Johansson, 2009). This approach of children's learning views participation as a developing and dynamic cultural phenomenon. This research is focusing on the educators' perspectives and the conceptions of children's participation in everyday pedagogic practices and is based on a survey conducted in early childhood education in Metropolitan area of Helsinki in 2010. The survey was realized in the VKK-Metro development and research project funded by the Ministry of Social and Health affairs. The participants represented 1114 working teams from 350 kindergartens. The working teams included 3721 educators taking care of 19 907 children. The analytical framework of research is based on an abductive approach conducted with mixed methods. The findings indicate that children's voice was considered important by educators. Also opportunities to make independent initiatives and choices were considered as a right and an item of learning and of developing of skills of participation. However children's chances to participate in decision making process and pedagogical processes were weak because of challenges of children's participation experienced by educators. These challenges were connected to both institutional issues, such as routines and adult-child-ratios, and professional skills and beliefs about children's competence. According to findings of this research children's participation is understood to include such aspects as having opportunities to have an influence in their learning and the culture of kindergartens, becoming respected and listened to by educators and having chances to practice responsibility and self-regulation. The role of educators as facilitators of children's participation is found essential and the research builds knowledge of children's participation through framework of participatory pedagogy in early education context. Through this framework the challenges of children's participation could be reflected and a culture of developing participation built in co-operation between educators, children and political and social environment of early childhood education. Lasten osallisuus ja sen puutteet varhaiskasvatuksen käytännöissä ovat nousseet tutkimuksen keskeisiksi elementeiksi viime aikoina. Pienten lasten osallisuuden toteutumisesta varhaiskasvatuksen kontekstissa on löydetty puutteita, joita aiheuttavat institutionaaliset rakenteet, yhteiskunnallinen käsitys lapsuudesta sekä…