ENJOY your work!

Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) has undergone many statutory reforms during the last decade in Finland. According to the revised Act on Early Childhood Education and Care (580/2018) the day care centers should consist of three categories of professionals: Early Education/KindergartenTeachers (university, bachelor’s degree), Early Education Social Service (Bachelor’s degree, University of Applied Sciences) and Early Education Nurses. Furthermore, the leader of an ECEC- center should have a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

The division of labor between the three categories of professionals is the following: Teachers brings pedagogical expertise and the other professions brings expertise on social interaction and care into the team. This implicates new demands for leadership to enable the different categories of employees to find their identity, specify their roles and their competencies so that the personnel can work together as a multi-professional and unified team.  

The ECEC sector has been characterized by high rates of turnover, sick leave and difficulties to employ staff. The statuary reforms have further burdened the staff. Thus, the aims of the ENJOY project are:

  1. To explore factors related to work-engagement and turnover in the ECEC
  2. To develop understanding of the new demands on educational leadership in ECEC
  3. To enhance moral resilience and work engagement, and diminish turnover by developing further education for educational leaders in ECEC
  4. (Developing e-consulting for personnel in ECEC)

The research is based on the Job Demands-Resources model developed by Bakker and Demerouti (2007) (Figure 1) and on the theory on moral distress developed by Jameton 1984. Our hypothesis is that repeated experiences of morally distressing encounters leaves the persons vulnerable for burnout and turnover, and that the impact of educational leadership is crucial in resolving the imbalance and creating resilience.

Mirjam Kalland
Nina Santavirta
Marina Lundkvist
Cecilia Heilala
Maria Forsius