University of Oulu

Puroila, A.-M., Emilson, A., Pálmadóttir, H., Piškur, B., & Tofteland, B. (2022). Educators’ interpretations of children’s belonging across borders: Thinking and talking with an image. European Educational Research Journal.

Educators’ interpretations of children’s belonging across borders : thinking and talking with an image

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Author: Puroila, Anna-Maija1; Emilson, Anette2; Pálmadóttir, Hrönn3;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
2Linnaeus University, Sweden
3University of Iceland, Iceland
4Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
5University of Stavanger, Norway
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-25


European quality framework for early childhood education and care calls for creating environments that support all children’s sense of belonging. This study aims to advance empirical knowledge on educators’ interpretations of children’s belonging in early education settings. The study is part of a project conducted in five European countries — Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The following research question guides the study: How do educators interpret children’s belonging in early education across borders? The study draws from the theory of the politics of belonging by Yuval-Davis and employs ‘thinking and talking with an image’ as a methodological approach. The findings explicate educators’ taken-forgranted categorisations, thus portraying their views about educational settings as sites for children’s belonging. Opposing, joint play and being alone were identified as emotionally loaded interactions that educators interpreted as significant for children’s belonging. The educators emphasised democratic values, such as diversity, participation, equality and equity. However, they viewed diverse tensions in embodying democratic values in a diverse group. The shared basis of the profession appeared as a more significant basis for educators’ interpretations than the different societal contexts. The study encourages educators and researchers in European countries to collaborate in promoting children’s belonging.

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Series: European educational research journal
ISSN: 1474-9041
ISSN-E: 1474-9041
ISSN-L: 1474-9041
Issue: Epub ahead of print
Pages: 1 - 22
DOI: 10.1177/14749041211065878
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The study is part of the research project ‘Politics of belonging: Promoting children’s inclusion in educational settings across borders’, funded by NordForsk research programme ‘Education for Tomorrow’ (project number 85644).
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.