University of Oulu

Aino Äikäs, Henri Pesonen, Noora Heiskanen, Marja Syrjämäki, Lotta Aavikko & Elina Viljamaa (2023) Approaches to collaboration and support in early childhood education and care in Finland: professionals’ narratives, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 38:4, 528-542,

Approaches to collaboration and support in early childhood education and care in Finland : professionals’ narratives

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Author: Äikäs, Aino1; Pesonen, Henri2; Heiskanen, Noora1;
Organizations: 1Department of Special Education, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
2Department of Special Needs Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway
3Department of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-10-03


Children with intellectual disability and autism often receive support which is organised with interprofessional collaboration in early childhood education and care (ECEC). In Finland, a new ECEC curriculum was launched in 2022. The core curriculum and renewed legislation on ECEC emphasise collaboration between professionals and parents. In this study, we examined approaches and practices regarding collaboration and support in the context of Finnish ECEC. The data were collected from ECEC professionals (N = 104) using the method of empathy-based stories (MEBS). The MEBS used frame stories through which professionals responded to a variety of descriptions about a child’s situation, whether positive or negative. The analysis resulted in four narratives, which were about: 1) a culture of self-survival and individual responsibility, 2) interprofessional collaboration as a core method 3) one’s own and the team’s competence supporting the child, and 4) pedagogical practices in constructing inclusion. Findings suggest that, teamwork and interprofessional collaboration should be enhanced in pre- and in-service training and practices in ECEC.

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Series: European journal of special needs education
ISSN: 0885-6257
ISSN-E: 1469-591X
ISSN-L: 0885-6257
Volume: 38
Issue: 4
Pages: 528 - 542
DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2022.2127081
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2022 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 ( licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.