Transforming Early Childhood Education and Care in the Baltic and Eastern European Region: Revitalizing pedagogical perspectives from Serbian, Finnish and Swedish Scholarship and Practice in the Field

Project leader: Robert Lecusay
Starting year: 2022
Project type: Research network
Total funding: SEK 78,000

Over the past decade, Finland, Serbia, and Sweden’s national systems of early childhood education and care (ECEC) have grappled with increased pressures to adapt these systems to conform with top-down, instruction-focused approaches to ECEC, approaches that research has shown to be potentially detrimental to children’s learning, creativity, and development in early childhood. All three countries are home to specific ECEC pedagogies that represent critical alternatives to this trend: The Creative Pedagogy of Play (CPP, Finland & Sweden) and Lifeful Pedagogy (LP, Serbia). While these pedagogies offer meaningful ways to address the noted pressures on ECEC provision in each country, they remain marginalized in relation to more dominant pedagogies. Furthermore, while both overlap philosophically in their focus on adult-child collaboration as fundamental to ECEC, they have yet to be the subject of formal scholarly comparison. The meeting proposed herein will convene international LP and CPP scholars to participate in public roundtables and workshops designed to put in comparative perspective the pedagogical and developmental principles underpinning the two pedagogies. These activities will lay a foundation for developing conceptual and practical tools to address the noted challenges to ECEC in each country. These activities will also lead to the formulation of specific research problems and questions relevant for pursuing joint research funding and network development applications.