D4 Published development or research report or study
Lapsiperheiden hyvinvointi koronapandemian aikana : Osaraportti 2: Noin viisivuotiaiden hoito- ja varhaiskasvatusjärjestelyt (2021)

Sulkanen, M., Alasuutari, M., & Saranko, L. (2021). Lapsiperheiden hyvinvointi koronapandemian aikana : Osaraportti 2: Noin viisivuotiaiden hoito- ja varhaiskasvatusjärjestelyt. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Reports, 9. https://doi.org/10.17011/jyureports/2021/9

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Sulkanen, Mimmu; Alasuutari, Maarit; Saranko, Lotta

eISBN: 978-951-39-8694-0

Journal or series: JYU Reports

eISSN: 2737-0046

Publication year: 2021

Number in series: 9

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (53 sivua)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17011/jyureports/2021/9

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8859-3

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


Based on the survey results of the Early Childhood Education and Care and the COVID-19 Pandemic project, implemented by the University of Jyväskylä in cooperation with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), this sub-report describes the childcare and early childhood education and care (ECEC) arrangements for approximately five-year-old children in 2020. The project funding for the University of Jyväskylä comes from the Ministry of Education and Culture. For THL, the funding is based on a supplementary appropriation granted by the Parliament of Finland for research on the social impacts of the coronavirus epidemic. The survey was carried out at the turn of 2020 and 2021, and its target group comprised parents of children born between 1 October 2014 and 30 September 2015. The survey focused on the arrangement of childcare and participation in ECEC at three different points of time: in January 2020 before the exceptional circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic, in April 2020 during the pandemic, and at the time of responding to the survey, that is, between 16 November 2020 and 15 January 2021. In addition to presenting descriptive statistics and frequency distributions, the data were analysed using cross-tabulation and the Chi-square test of independence. Both in January 2020 and at the time of responding, most of the children participated in ECEC at a municipal ECEC centre five days a week. For most of them, the care arrangements were similar or nearly similar in January and at the time of responding. Possible changes in ECEC setting could be related to, for example, relocation or the start of pre-primary education. Because of Finland’s lockdown in spring 2020, the Finnish Government recommended that parents look after their children of ECEC age at home between 16 March and 13 May, if possible. However, the early childhood education and care settings remained open to, for example, ensure that parents employed in fields critical for the operation of society could continue to work. The home-care recommendation of the Government was visible in our survey so that the majority of children had a temporary, short- or long-term break from ECEC services during the lockdown of spring 2020. The length of an uninterrupted break varied considerably – from 1 to 40 weeks, the average being slightly over 10 weeks. No changes were made to the care arrangements of a third of the children during the spring 2020 lockdown. Various reasons were reported as fairly or very important for continuing in ECEC without a break during the lockdown. The most typical of these reasons was parents’ work or studies. Other reasons reported as important were that the ECEC setting remained open, parents wanted to support the child’s growth and learning, parents wanted the child to attend ECEC as usual, and children were keen to participate in various activities. The respondents mostly reported the Government’s recommendation for children to stay at home as a fairly or very important reason for taking a temporary break from ECEC. Other typical reasons for temporary breaks were parents’ desire to keep their children safe at home, as well as the recommendation by ECEC providers for children to stay at home. Various factors determined whether a child would have a break from ECEC or continue uninterrupted. Breaks from ECEC centres were more common than those from family day care. Between municipal and private service providers, instead, there were no differences in this respect. Children with siblings remained at home more often than those with no siblings. Parents’ education and work had an impact on children interrupting ECEC: the children of parents with a higher university degree remained more often in home care. Children whose parents had completed a vocational qualification, instead, more typically continued in ECEC with no break. In addition, the children of unemployed parents and parents working mainly or only remotely more often had a break from ECEC than children whose parents worked at the workplace. The incidence of COVID-19 infections in a municipality was connected to children’s breaks from ECEC: when the incidence rate was 25 or higher per 100,000 persons, children more often had a break. In municipalities with an incidence rate of 10–24, instead, children more often continued in ECEC without a break. An incidence rate lower than 10 had no statistical significance in this respect. Furthermore, the parents’ estimate of their own health, their child’s health, or of the child’s support needs was not related to whether or not the child continued uninterrupted in ECEC. Altogether, the children included in the survey had 10 different childcare pathways during 2020. In the analysis for January and the time of responding, we only considered whether a child participated in ECEC, and for April whether ECEC was interrupted/continued or whether the child was looked after at home. The most common childcare pathway was to participate in ECEC in January, take a break during the lockdown, and again participate in ECEC at the time of responding.

Keywords: children (age groups); children (family members); families; families with children; parents; parenthood; COVID-19; unusual conditions; work; combining; early childhood education and care; well-being; day care centres; day care; questionnaire survey

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Last updated on 2022-15-06 at 17:31