People
Current members of our research group.
Jaakko Hilppö

My work focuses on children’s agency and learning from a cultural-historical activity theory perspective. In the past, I have focused specifically on children’s sense of agency across their everyday life settings. More recently, I have studied children’s projects as manifestations of their agency and sites for their learning and development. In the future, I mean to extend my research on children’s agency towards sleep and sleep cultures in early childhood. I will pursue this focus from my present position, as a university lecturer on early childhood education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, with a specific focus on pre-school education.

jaakko.hilppo@helsinki.fi

Emma Kurenlahti

My research focuses on the construction of morality and the formation of related emotions in the context of education during the era of sustainability crises. In my doctoral thesis, I approach morality and the manifestation of emotions from the perspective of evil as a cultural-historically constructed phenomenon which is defined, resisted, and transformed in the context of early childhood education and care. Currently I’m a doctoral researcher on a four-year project investigating children’s grief and grieving in institutional early childhood education (GIECE, 2021-2025, funded by the Academy of Finland), at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki.

emma.kurenlahti@helsinki.fi

Lasse Lipponen

My research work is focused on emotions, especially compassion and grief, and emotional practices in early childhood education from the sociocultural perspective. Currently, I am leading a project "Children’s grief and grieving in institutional early childhood education" (GIECE, 2021-2025, funded by the Academy of Finland). I am professor of education, with special reference to early childhood education, at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki.

lasse.lipponen@helsinki.fi

Annukka Pursi

My research involves using video data to analyze children's social interactions, and adult-child pedagogical interactions in ECEC settings. My recent research topics include emotions and engagement in social interaction. Currently I’m a co-investigator on a four-year project examining children’s grief and grieving in institutional early childhood education (GIECE, 2021-2025, funded by the Academy of Finland). I’m also a University Lecturer in the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. In my research and teaching, my special interest is pedagogy for children under 3 years of age.

annukka.pursi@helsinki.fi

Anna Pauliina Rainio

My ethnographic and intervention research focuses on adult-child interaction in early childhood and primary school settings. I have long sought to understand how individuals develop and change the circumstances and communities in which they work and live together. What is the role of childhood for human agency? What kind of support do adults need in creating space for more heterogeneous ways for the participation and engagement of children in institutional settings? How does adult-child joint imagination and play support and enable children’s development and agency? I study these questions with local teachers and children and in international research collaboration. I work as a University Lecturer at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki and hold the title of Docent in Educational Psychology.

anna.rainio@helsinki.fi

Antti Rajala

My research interests include global education as well as compassion, learning, and agency in education. Currently, I lead the project Pedagogy of concrete utopias: Promoting youth climate activism in formal education (2020-2023, funded by the Academy of Finland and the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation). I work as an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Education, University of Oulu. I am also an adjunct professor at the University of Helsinki.

antti.rajala@helsinki.fi

Eija Salonen

My research interests center on young children’s emotions in their close relationships in early childhood education and care. Presently, I’m a postdoctoral researcher on a four-year research project investigating children’s grief and grieving in early childhood education (GIECE, 2021-2025, funded by the Academy of Finland), at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. The part of the project I’m responsible for focuses on children under 3 years of age attending flexibly scheduled early childhood education and care. Using video ethnography, I explore how the interactionally constructed practices of grief appear in child-educator interaction.

eija.salonen@helsinki.fi

Jenni Vartiainen

My research focuses on early childhood science education from a sociocultural perspective. More precisely, I study children’s play, imagination, and interaction in different science-related practices in kindergarten and pre-primary school. I conceptualize early science education from the perspective of scientific literacy which underscores the societal and cultural nature of science. I’m curious to understand how young children participate in the culture of science and recreate it. Recently, I have expanded my research towards early childhood sustainability education. I lead a research project Sustainable Future in Early Childhood Education that unfolds the pedagogy of sustainability education in ECE. I hold a university lecturer position at the University of Helsinki.

jenni.vartiainen@helsinki.fi