Early childhood and early childhood education

Read more about our on-going research projects on this page.
All Children Included! (ALLBINK)

The aim of the project All Children Included! (ALLBINK) is to study how young children include and exclude other children in organized and free play in early childhood education centers. Since very little research is done in this field in Finland, we expect to produce new knowledge for municipalities, daycare centers, teacher education and researchers on the ways children exclude, bully, and include other children. The study is done from an intersectional perspective within a theoretical framework based on critical racialization and whiteness theories as well as earlier research on inclusion among young children. We expect to observe inclusion/exclusion based on, for example, racialization, language, social class and gender. This is an ethnographic study conducted in 20 daycare centers. The study consists of participant observations of children’s activities and behaviors as well as interviews with daycare personnel (center leaders, teachers in early childhood education and childcare workers).

Project time: 2021-2024

Funding: Brita Maria Renlunds Minne

Project team: Gunilla Holm, Monica Londén, Jan-Erik Mansikka, Maria Saloranta, Alexandra Nordström, Sara Hellström

Contact: Gunilla Holm


In the project, we are looking for methods to support children's linguistic development and socio-emotional development in early childhood education, especially when the home language and the language of early childhood education are different. With the help of the research, it is possible to develop forms of support for socio-emotional development and language development for early childhood education. With their help, the marginalization and school dropout of all children, but especially multilingual children, can be prevented.

Project time: 2023-2025

Funding: Niilo Helanderin säätiö

Project team: Mirjam Kalland,Tanja Linnavalli, Silja Martikainen

Contact: Mirjam Kalland 

Families First

This study investigates the impact of childhood experiences, (marital) relationship, parental mentalizing and support among normative first-time parents and among parents at risk on a) parenting and parental health and wellbeing and b) the effects of these factors on the development and health of the child.

Project time: 2018-2024

Funding: Signe & Ane Gyllenbergs stiftelse

Project team: Mirjam Kalland, Saara Salo

Contact: Mirjam Kalland 

Involved in Linguistic Diversity (DeSmå)

The overall aim of the research project Involved in linguistic diversity (DeSmå) is to increase understanding of Swedish as a second language in early childhood education and care and in pre-primary education from the perspective of various actors and to support the emerging multilingual linguistic identity of children where Swedish is one of the children’s languages. The project aims to create research-based information that supports Swedish as a second language in teacher education and strengthens teacher education in early childhood education and in pre-primary education. With the help of two-way cooperation with different actors, the project aims to identify and further develop solutions for the future by focusing on strengths and current good practices, instead of mapping shortcomings. In addition, the project contributes to the international scientific field by highlighting second language perspectives in a numerical linguistic minority, i.e., on minority in minority.

Project time: 2023-2024

Funding: Svenska kulturfonden

Project team: Mari Bergroth, Pauliina Sopanen

Contact: Mari Bergroth

Supporting Social and Emotional Development in ECEC (SAGA)

Supporting Social and Emotional Development in ECEC (SAGA) is a research and development project that aims to support children’s social and emotional development by shared story book reading with mentalizing dialogues. Social and emotional development refers to a child’s growing ability to express, name and regulate their feelings and their ability to interpret other’s feelings and help others. Social and emotional understanding in children is closely related to language development and the interaction with supporting caregivers. 

Project time: 2019-2023

Funding: Svenska kulturfonden

Project team: Mirjam Kalland, Tanja Linnavalli, Silja Martikainen, Susanna Siljander, Marjo Savijärvi

Contact: Mirjam Kalland

Social and Cultural Sustainability in ECE (SATSA)

Social and Cultural Sustainability in ECE (SATSA) aims to investigate the state of social and cultural sustainability within public ECEC centers in Finland and to promote sustainable leadership and sustainable teams within ECEC. In addition, SATSA aims to develop remote and digital coaching to support sustainable social and cultural leadership and teamwork. Finally, SATSA aims to evaluate the effects of the intervention. SATSA is linked to United Nations Sustainability Goals, especially Goals 4, 5 and 11.

Project time: 2021-2023

Funding: Svenska kulturfonden

Project team: Mirjam Kalland, Marina Lundkvist, Cecilia Heilala, Nina Santavirta

Contact: Mirjam Kalland