University of Oulu

Virve Keränen & Minna Uitto (2021): Can I Kiss a Child? Balancing Between Different Views of Touch in Early Childhood Educators’ Work, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2021.1990124

Can I kiss a child? : balancing between different views of touch in early childhood educators’ work

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Author: Keränen, Virve1; Uitto, Minna1
Organizations: 1Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-03-23


Prior research has shown that touch has an important role in preschools. However, less is known about early childhood educators’ views on touch in their work. Hence, we ask what different views of touch early childhood educators narrate as a part of their work. The research material consists of three multiprofessional group discussions with educators working in Finnish preschools. The findings show how educators balanced between different views of touch. Occasionally they spoke from personal points of view: touch is intimate while an important part of their work. However, educators also spoke from professional and practical points of view: circumstances and practices influence touch, and they must tolerate touch because of the nature of their work. Additionally, educators spoke about how culture, rules, habits, and other people affect touch. The study suggests that practices of touch must be intertwined with tactful practice and treated as a multisided phenomenon in education.

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Series: Scandinavian journal of educational research
ISSN: 0031-3831
ISSN-E: 1470-1170
ISSN-L: 0031-3831
Volume: In press
DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2021.1990124
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland [grant number 332232] and Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 332232
Detailed Information: 332232 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: 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 License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.