Pesonen, Saha (2022): Too Little Attention Is Paid to Children Who Require Specialised Support.’: In-Service and Pre-service Teachers’ Views on Policy and Practice in Early Childhood Teacher Education in Finland
I: Early Childhood Research and Education - An Inter-theoretical Focus (book series). Open Access.
Mari Saha & Henri Pesonen
There have been moves towards more integrative and inclusive early childhood education settings. This can be seen in policy documents as well as in the everyday life in kindergartens. Inclusive early childhood education and care (ECEC) requires self-reflection from teachers in relation to the extent they perceive themselves to be skilful and competent to engage with children with special educational needs (e.g. developmental disabilities, learning difficulties) or various backgrounds (e.g. children who are maltreated or neglected, children from LGBT families). Teacher education has a significant role in educating qualified and competent future teachers in the field of early childhood education. In this chapter, our aim is to describe the context of inclusive Finnish ECEC after the most recent change in policy and legislation in 2018. By summarising the research findings, our aim is to illustrate the challenges in- and pre-service teachers face in encountering children with diverse needs and backgrounds, as well as their views on how to improve the current teacher education. Further, we also discuss how teacher education programmes can respond to these challenges by providing suggestions for policy and practice.