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The Development of Early Childhood Education as an Academic Discipline in Finland

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Author(s): Eeva Hujala

Journal: Nordisk Barnehageforskning
ISSN 1890-9167

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2008;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Early Childhood Education (ECE) as an academic discipline has gained an academic legitimacy in Fin-  land in 2005. In accordance with internationally established practice, Early Childhood Education as an academic  field and a field of research has been set to cover the period from birth to eight years of age. The focus of ECE re-  search is to analyse and define the development and upbringing of young children, including such themes as  learning and teaching and the complex connection between child development to the growth environment. In re-  cent years in Finland, the internal paradigmatic discussions within academic ECE have been both enlightened and  critical. The emergence of an academic Early Childhood Education paradigm has been apparent in the discus-  sions of early pedagogy, professional growth, leadership, management and quality and as a definer of pedagogy  to support children’s learning. The challenge of academic Early Childhood Education is to introduce into the dis-  cussion ontological and epistemological issues of early childhood and thereby activate teachers and other profes-  sional educators and parents to consider personal and professional conceptions of the child, of learning and of the  role of adults in the upbringing of young children from birth to eight years of age. 
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