University of Oulu

The significance of child friendly spaces in promoting the well-being of asylum seeking children : case study at Heikinharju Reception Centre, Finland

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Author: Hadid, Rima1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Pages: 84
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : R. Hadid, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-11-30
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Räsänen, Rauni
Reviewer: Räsänen, Rauni


This study took place at the Heikinharju Reception Centre in Oulu, Finland, between 2015 and 2018. The main goal of the study was to assess the significance of Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) and their contribution to the well-being of asylum seeking families, especially to that of the children. The data was collected in a period of two years through observation and active participation in weekly gatherings with the children and their guardians as well as through other qualitative data collection methods (e.g., field notes, interviews, and focus group discussions) that took place mainly between October 2016 and May 2017.

The following research questions have been used to achieve the aims of this master’s thesis project:

1. How significant are CFS practices in promoting well-being and psychological support for children and their families?

a) What are the conditions to increase safety?

b) What are the conditions to increase well-being and happiness?

2. How could CFSs be developed and progressed to better serve their goals?

Based on the research questions, an Ethnographic case study that was supported by an interpretive ontology and a social constructivist epistemology were used to elicit an in-depth picture of the phenomena explored. Despite the fact that data analysis process took place throughout the research, after completing the data collection phase, the researcher gathered the entire data for a final systematic data analysis.

The findings affirm a significantly positive relationship between the CFSs and children’s and families’ well-being. Moreover, data analysis revealed that despite the different perspectives in defining safety, safety still remains vitally important for increasing the well-being and happiness of children. Several recommendations have been made by the researcher to further the development of CFSs. Providing a larger space for the activities and increasing the frequency of the sessions were the first ones that came forward. Additionally, implementing different methods to increase the interactions between asylum seeking children and the local (Finnish) children has been strongly solicited. Finally, introducing Finnish culture through outdoor activities as well as more cultural activities to the children of the CFS has been suggested as a means of increasing the positive impacts of CFS on the asylum seeking children’s and families’ psychosocial development.

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Copyright information: © Rima Hadid, 2018. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.