A3 Book section, Chapters in research books
Finland : Becoming and the Youngest Children at Home and in ECEC (2019)

Rutanen, N., & Hännikäinen, M. (2019). Finland : Becoming and the Youngest Children at Home and in ECEC. In M. Gradovski, E. Eriksen Ødegaard, N. Rutanen, J. Sumsion, C. Mika, & E. J. White (Eds.), The First 1000 Days of Early Childhood : Becoming (pp. 93-108). Springer. Policy and Pedagogy with Under-three Year Olds: Cross-disciplinary Insights and Innovations, 2. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-32-9656-5_6

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Rutanen, Niina; Hännikäinen, Maritta

Parent publication: The First 1000 Days of Early Childhood : Becoming

Parent publication editors: Gradovski, Mikhail; Eriksen Ødegaard, Elin; Rutanen, Niina; Sumsion, Jennifer; Mika, Carl; White, E. Jayne

ISBN: 978-981-329-655-8

eISBN: 978-981-329-656-5

Journal or series: Policy and Pedagogy with Under-three Year Olds: Cross-disciplinary Insights and Innovations

ISSN: 2509-6680

eISSN: 2509-6699

Publication year: 2019

Number in series: 2

Pages range: 93-108

Number of pages in the book: 148

Publisher: Springer

Place of Publication: Singapore

Publication country: Singapore

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-32-9656-5_6

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:


This chapter will focus on the youngest children and the everyday contexts and practices of their lives in Finland. The chapter explores the concept of ‘becoming’ within childhood, particularly within early childhood education and care (ECEC) in our country. For the youngest children, their homes and nuclear families have been historically and culturally constructed as the first and most important social and emotional growth environments. For families, the discourses concerning the ‘best or right place’ for their young children to be cared for and learn in are fuelled by the extensive system of financial incentives for home care (e.g. maternity, paternity and home allowances). Only about 40% of children aged between 1 and 3 attend ECEC in day-care centres or ‘family day care’ outside of the home. However, linked to the recent and strong culture of home care, many politicians and stakeholders have expressed concerns about the low attendance rates of the youngest children in ECEC. Diverse financial incentives have been proposed to increase these attendance rates. Thus, the discourses on what is ‘best for the child’ are becoming more complex, as they now include institutional ECEC options outside of domestic environments. To explore becoming in this cultural, historical and political context, the chapter will first describe the means and institutions that participate in supporting children’s becoming in Finland. Then, the chapter will provide a short description of the historical background of ECEC in a Finnish context, namely, the influence of Germany and Friedrich Fröbel. Following on from this historical review, the chapter will then discuss the current status of ECEC. In recent years, early childhood education institutions and practices have undergone various structural and political changes, such as changes in legislation. Thus, the chapter will also discuss how becoming is interpreted, seen and supported in the new National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care (2018) and in educational practices today in Finland.

Keywords: early childhood; growing environment; home care; child home care allowance; day care; early childhood education and care; early childhood education plans

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2021-07-10 at 14:06