Original Research - Special Collection: Early Childhood Development in Theory and Practice

How educators commit to enhancing children’s participation in early childhood education pedagogical plans

Johanna Heikka, Titta Kettukangas, Leena Turja, Nina Heiskanen
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 12, No 1 | a1170 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v12i1.1170 | © 2022 Johanna Heikka, Titta Kettukangas, Leena Turja, Nina Heiskanen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 December 2021 | Published: 19 August 2022

About the author(s)

Johanna Heikka, School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, Faculty of Philosophical, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
Titta Kettukangas, School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, Faculty of Philosophical, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
Leena Turja, Department of Education, Faculty of Early Childhood Education, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
Nina Heiskanen, School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, Faculty of Philosophical, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland

Abstract

Background: This is a descriptive study of children’s participation plans in early childhood education (ECE) settings in Finland. The study adopted a multidimensional approach to find out how practices of children’s participation were conceived in pedagogical plans made by ECE staff, representing a focus that is rare in the existing body of research.

Aim: Aim of the study was to investigate educators’ commitments to enhancing children’s participation in pedagogical practices in their ECE settings.

Setting: Ten centre-based plans for children’s participation composed by ECE staff at ECE centres were selected for the document data in this study.

Methods: This study employs the categorisation of the prerequisites and dimensions of children’s participation in deductive qualitative content analysis (Turja 2017).

Results: Results of the analysis concludes that in early childhood education plans, there were comprehensive notions of prerequisites for participation. However, the study indicates that the level of participation varied between plans for different activities; it was highest in play and limited in terms of time and effect in other pedagogical and caregiving activities.

Conclusion: Understanding the prerequisites and dimensions of children’s participation is fundamental for planning and enacting participative pedagogy in child groups at ECE centres. In conclusion, this study suggests how to support ECE staff in interpreting and implementing children’s participation in early childhood education.


Keywords

children’s participation; early childhood education; educators; pedagogical plans; pedagogy; participation practices; prerequisites for participation

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