G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Children's needs for support and support measures in pedagogical documents of early childhood education care (2019)

Heiskanen, N. (2019). Children's needs for support and support measures in pedagogical documents of early childhood education care [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU dissertations, 139. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7868-6

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Heiskanen, Noora

eISBN: 978-951-39-7868-6

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2019

Number in series: 139

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (101 sivua, 86 sivua useina numerointijaksoina, 33 numeroimatonta sivua) :

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7868-6

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


In educational institutions, extensive documentation is conducted in order to plan pedagogical practices and support. However, documentation is not always a neutral and harmless practice, as it has potentially far-reaching and problematic consequences. Moreover, it is a process of creating and maintaining institutional realities such as responsibilities and rights. Based on the recommendations of developing functional pedagogical documents, multi-faceted and multi-voiced information about children’s strengths, interests, and needs for support as well as specific, measurable objectives and rigorously recorded measures of support are described as vital in meeting child’s needs, along with continuous assessments. However, in practice, pedagogical documents typically problematize the child by describing the child’s need for support as an individual matter, and the role of pedagogy and professional responsibility remains weak. This research aims to provide knowledge about the functions, contents, and linguistic features of pedagogical documents in early childhood education and care (ECEC). In the inspection of the longitudinal document data (N = 312) from 108 Finnish children, the question of how well the documents meet the national regulations and research-based recommendations for drafting educationally meaningful pedagogical documents is discussed. In the analysis, Maurizio Ferraris’ theory of documentality is used to observe in what sense the documents can be seen as weak or strong in orientating ECEC practices. Moreover, the positions of children, parents, and professionals are investigated. The results illustrate that the documents are strong in problem-based descriptions of children’s needs for support and in professional dominance in planning, but weak in guiding the systematic development of pedagogy. Documents typically position children in troubled positions and label parents as informants lacking power to influence. To summarize, documents meet the recommendations and legislative requirements relatively poorly and consequently remain simple gateways to categorizing children instead of serving as cornerstones supporting their wellbeing, growth, and learning.

Keywords: early childhood education and care; preschool education; early support; pedagogical planning; pedagogical leadership; documents; documentation

Free keywords: pedagogical document; need for support; early childhood education and care (ECEC); documentality; discourse analysis; positioning theory

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

Last updated on 2021-09-06 at 13:45