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Early childhood teacher education focused on multilingual and multicultural issues Gunilla Holm Professor of Education University of Helsinki.

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Presentation on theme: "Early childhood teacher education focused on multilingual and multicultural issues Gunilla Holm Professor of Education University of Helsinki."— Presentation transcript:

1 Early childhood teacher education focused on multilingual and multicultural issues Gunilla Holm Professor of Education University of Helsinki

2 Background New early childhood teacher education program in Swedish at the University of Helsinki in collaboration with Åbo Academy University started in September 2011 One previously far away located program Poor student recruitment from the Helsinki region 20-50% uncertified early childhood teachers in metropolitan Helsinki region

3 Legal regulations for teacher education until 2006 No more monopoly on teacher education Municipal initiative for the program Collaboration and much activism (regional city heads of education, regional municipal organization) and lobbying within the university for a positive answer by the University of Helsinki and the Ministry of Education

4 Political resistance Are we our own worst enemy? Media war The Swedish-speaking community divided on the issue---political lobbying, support of a Member of the Parliament, politicians, Swedish Peoples Party, Minister of Culture, Ministry of Education Costs

5 Guiding principles Minority program, less interest – freedom The Convention on the Rights of the Child serve as a foundation for early childhood education and care in Finland. Article 29: (c) The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;

6 (d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin

7 Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (2002) – values in the Constitution: quality, sanctity of human dignity, securing personal freedom and personal rights, freedom of religion as well as language and cultural rights. Furthermore, children should be treated as equals and be heard in things concerning them.

8 National curriculum for pre-school (2000, 6-year old children) Children should be given the same opportunities to learn and develop Socially just – special education at an early stage Cultural and linguistic identity should be strengthened

9 National curriculum guidelines on early childhood education and care treated fairly regardless of gender or social, cultural and ethnic background Advisory Board for Early Childhood Education and Care (2008) - a high quality program should diminish differences among children from different living conditions and social class background

10 University based Bachelors degree since 1995, 180 study points Polytechnic degree – not pre-school certified foundations of education (25 points): foundations of early childhood education, history and philosophy of early childhood education, sociological foundations of early childhood, child development and socialization, a course in how children learn and two practice periods Ia and Ib.

11 General early childhood and research related courses (40 points) : multilingualism, the role of play, special education, educational planning, theory and teaching in preschool education, childhood psychology, socio- emotional development and family dynamics, qualitative and quantitative research methods, thesis seminar and thesis.

12 The courses required for preschool teaching certification include media culture and media education, social interaction and belonging in a multicultural society, language development and stimulation, drama, mathematics, environment and natural sciences, religion and ethics, childrens literature, art, crafts, music, movement and health as well as practice periods II and III.

13 A minor consisting of 25 points. This could be, for example, in-depth didactic studies in literature, music or sports, etc. Most will take the minor in Finnish. There are not enough resources to offer it in Swedish Bilingual program

14 Three program foci Multilingual education, identity and diversity, and esthetic education Separate courses but infused in all relevant courses Over 65% of the children in daycare in the metropolitan Helsinki region come from Finnish-Swedish bilingual homes

15 Multilingualism bi- and multilingualism language stimulation activities language immersion programs

16 Identity and diversity Swedish culture in Finland – inclusive of bilingual children and children with Swedish as a second language Multicultural education – inclusive definition; ethnicity, race, social class differences, religion, disability gender – big achievement differences

17 Longterm goals: Strengthen the Swedish language and culture among children Reduce prejudice and discrimination Understanding and including a variety of minority groups Provide early childhood education teachers who can establish socially just daycare and pre-school environments

18 Importance of university level early childhood teacher education in a minority language requires solid knowledge of - ones own language, - how language develops - research about bilingualism in order to be able to further mono- and bilingual childrens language development and skills. - teachers become bilingual: major in Swedish, minor in Finnish

19 - Swedish childrens culture & cultural-esthetic learning opportunities Challenges: Require qualified Swedish speaking university early childhood educators Pooling resources, collaboration skills, patience, willingness to compromise, funding, good students and political will for the program to survive

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