University of Oulu

Ylikörkkö, EM., Karjalainen, S. & Puroila, AM. Toddlers with the Doll Carriage: Children Doing Space of Participation in Early Childhood Education. Early Childhood Educ J (2023).

Toddlers with the doll carriage : children doing space of participation in early childhood education

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Author: Ylikörkkö, Enni-Mari1; Karjalainen, Satu1; Puroila, Anna-Maija1
Organizations: 1Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Erkki-Koiso Kanttilan Katu 1, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-20


This article focuses on child participation in early childhood education (ECE). The theoretical basis for this study is a relational approach that highlights the significance of spatiality and materiality. Drawing from these theoretical perspectives, child participation is understood as a space that children actively do in various combinations of social, material and cultural relationships. The study relies on a relational understanding of the child as not only being, but also becoming by doing space within one’s environment. The methodological framework draws on narrative childhood studies that emphasize the multimodality of children’s narration. The research material consists of small stories from a Finnish ECE centre. The analysis focused on children under 3 years of age doing space of participation with material items in ECE. The study shows that space of child participation is dynamic in the everyday relationships. The findings illustrate children’s doing space of participation as a tension-filled phenomenon which requires children to balance between the active agency and adapting to the expectations of the environment. The findings uncover the three-fold nature of the space—namely, the social, material and cultural dimensions—that is meaningful for child participation. The doll carriage as a material item played a crucial role in children’s doing space of participation: it provided opportunities for children to formulate the ownership of the space, to construct peer relationships, and to shape and defend the borders of one’s space. The study contributes theoretically and methodologically to ECE research by opening new perspectives on the participation of young children.

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Series: Early childhood education journal
ISSN: 1082-3301
ISSN-E: 1573-1707
ISSN-L: 1082-3301
Issue: Latest articles
DOI: 10.1007/s10643-023-01514-7
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2023, corrected publication 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit