Original Research

Working with children with special needs in Finnish kindergartens: Professionals and/or specialists?

Mari Nislin, Maiju Paananen, Laura Repo, Nina Sajaniemi, Margaret Sims
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 5, No 3 | a368 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v5i3.368 | © 2016 Mari Nislin, Maiju Paananen, Laura Repo, Nina Sajaniemi, Margaret Sims | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 October 2015 | Published: 06 February 2016

About the author(s)

Mari Nislin, Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
Maiju Paananen, Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
Laura Repo, Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
Nina Sajaniemi, Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
Margaret Sims, Early Childhood School of Education, University of New England, Australia, Australia


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Abstract

The aim is to investigate the links between job satisfaction of Finnish early childhood professionals (ECPs) and the appreciation they receive for their work, and how these are associated with their competence to work with children with diverse needs and backgrounds. Data was collected via nationwide online survey for practitioners (n = 885) working in Finnish kindergartens. The main findings show that ECPs experience their work as satisfactory and receive appreciation from colleagues, friends and the children’s parents. It was also evident form the data that ECPs felt themselves to be incompetent to work with children with disabilities or children who had experienced trauma. This may reflect that more in-service training regarding these special education issues is needed. We argue that satisfaction, appreciation and competence, are key factors in the development of a strong professional identity, enhanced well-being at work and in other domains of life and particularly for high quality and inclusive early childhood education.

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Crossref Citations

1. Associations of self-perceived competence, well-being and sense of belonging among pre- and in-service teachers encountering children with diverse needs
Mari Nislin, Henri Pesonen
European Journal of Special Needs Education  vol: 34  issue: 4  first page: 424  year: 2019  
doi: 10.1080/08856257.2018.1533093