Enrolling the child in private early childhood education and care in the context of universal service provision
Alasuutari, M., Ruutiainen, V., & Karila, K. (2023). Enrolling the child in private early childhood education and care in the context of universal service provision. Education Inquiry, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/20004508.2023.2282792
Published inEducation Inquiry
DisciplineVarhaiskasvatusHyvinvoinnin tutkimuksen yhteisöLapset, perheet ja sosiaalinen kestävyysEarly Childhood EducationSchool of WellbeingSocial Sustainability for Children and Families
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Finland has traditionally had a universal early childhood education and care (ECEC) system like the other Nordic countries, but in the last 15 years this system has undergone considerable marketisation and privatisation suggested to enable parental choice of ECEC. Much of the existing research on parental ECEC decisions has been conducted in contexts where ECEC systems differ considerably from the welfare and educational regimes of the Nordic countries. Moreover, parents’ views of private ECEC have scarcely been studied in the context of universal service provision. This study examined the frames the parents of a four-year-old child use to justify the selection of a private ECEC centre for their child. The data comprised qualitative interviews with eight Finnish parents. By applying discourse analytic tools, four frames were differentiated: accessibility, pedagogy, ECEC facilities and security. The findings demonstrated that while the accessibility of the services in terms of location and opening hours was the basis on which “choice” of ECEC was possible, the parents acted as active agents in the ECEC markets looking for services that would correspond to their values and perceptions of good childhood. The study raises the question of how well public policies and services can meet parents’ expectations and adjust to increasingly prevalent ideals of individualisation in society. ...
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Related funder(s)Research Council of Finland
Funding program(s)Strategic research programmes, AoF
Additional information about fundingThe work was supported by the Strategic Research Council, Academy of Finland [SA314317].
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