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The Fourth Science of Education; Early childhood education as a discipline in the curricula of Finnish universities

Author(s): Jarmo Kinos | Jorma Virtanen

Journal: Nordisk Barnehageforskning
ISSN 1890-9167

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

Early Childhood Education has been a multidisciplinary field and focus of research. The academization  of kindergarten teacher training and the emergence of a professorship in the mid 1990s, however, signified a shift  in the development of Early Childhood Education (ECE). Early Childhood Education began to develop as a sub-  discipline within educational sciences. Due to the autonomous nature of Finnish universities it is possible to em-  phasize the contents of the teaching and the study within each discipline as desired. Along with the introduction  of university level kindergarten teacher education, universities have had to define Early Childhood Education and  its status as a new discipline. When clarifying the structural foundation of Early Childhood Education, we have  also have to consider how General Education or Education, especially Early Childhood Education as a Main Dis-  cipline, meets the challenges of scientific study and the changing field of Early Childhood Education. On the basis  of our analysis there are two conflicting developments in the curricula: 1) ECE is one sub-field of General Educa-  tion, 2) ECE is the fourth educational science among other sciences of Education. And already in one Finnish uni-  versity ECE is like anomaly, defined as Main Discipline.
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