Early childhood education and care (ECEC) is developed in accordance with the principles of inclusion in Finland. To promote the child’s development, learning and wellbeing, it is important to target support early enough and to prevent problems from emerging. Next, University Researcher Noora Heiskanen explains how we support children’s development in ECEC.
Reform of legislation (valid from 1 August 2022) and update of the national core curricula for ECEC 2022 (valid from 1 March 2022)
The changes are related to the development and learning support provided to each child.
The goal is for children throughout Finland to be in an equal position. The most important thing is the best interests of the child and the right of the child to receive timely and sufficiently strong support. Consultation and an appreciative encounter between the child and guardian is essential when reflecting on matters of support. The aim is also to describe how the principle of inclusion in early childhood education is implemented, in other words, how all children are enabled to fully participate in early childhood education from their own starting points.
It is also important for the child that support forms a consistent continuum during early childhood education, as well as when the child starts preschool. With the change in legislation, the criteria are further defined according to the three-tier model of support levels and forms and how support is provided. In the model of three-tier support, the levels of support for the child are broken down into general, intensified and special support.
The need for support is assessed on the basis of the need of the individual child. Among other things, the child will be entitled to the aid required to participate in early childhood education. The reform will also be reflected in the personal early childhood education plan for each child. With the new legislation and the national core curriculum for ECEC, this all will be required of every municipality.
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