University of Oulu

Barbara Piškur, Marjatta Takala, Anita Berge, Liselotte Eek-Karlsson, Sara M. Ólafsdóttir & Sarah Meuser (2022) Belonging and participation as portrayed in the curriculum guidelines of five European countries, Journal of Curriculum Studies, 54:3, 351-366, DOI: 10.1080/00220272.2021.1986746

Belonging and participation as portrayed in the curriculum guidelines of five European countries

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Author: Piškur, Barbara1; Takala, Marjatta2; Berge, Anita3;
Organizations: 1Zuyd University, the Netherlands
2Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Finland
3Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Stavanger, Norway
4Department of Education and Teachers Practice, Linnaeus University, Sweden
5School of Education, University of Iceland, Iceland
6Lecturer & Researcher School of Occupational Therapy, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-11-01


This study seeks to explore how the belonging and participation, as well as its related concepts, are framed in the national curriculum guidelines of the Netherlands, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. We employed a scoping study with concept-mapping methodology. The results reveal macro level principles related to human rights and values, multiliteracy and language, policy measures and ideologies. Meso level principles stressed that education is supposed to guarantee a child’s overall development and skills acquisition, participation involvement in the activities related to a child’s environment and cultural heritage. The micro level principles were indicative of the need for inclusive and accessible physical and social environments, along with teaching methods which foster positive attitudes about diversity and teachers’ expertise levels to address diversity. We also found the importance of designing opportunities that encourage socializing, building relationships, and belongingness. Additionally, the results show how frequently the chosen key concepts are represented in the guidelines. Based on our study we can conclude that curriculum guidelines do not provide sufficent frameworks for promoting children’s belonging and participation. Further exploration on those concepts is needed, along with increased scholarly attention within the spheres of ECEC and compulsory education practice to enable inclusion for all children.

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Series: Journal of curriculum studies
ISSN: 0022-0272
ISSN-E: 1366-5839
ISSN-L: 0022-0272
Volume: 54
Issue: 3
Pages: 351 - 366
DOI: 10.1080/00220272.2021.1986746
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: This study has been financially supported by a NordForsk grant (no. 85644).
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.