chapter  7
17 Pages

Constructions of preschool teachers’ professional spaces in Estonian, Finnish, and Swedish early childhood education

WithKupila Päivi, Karila Kirsti, Sandberg Anette, Ugaste Aino

Studies have shown evidence of the recent and rapid changes in professionalism in early childhood education (ECE) and the professionalism and professional spaces of preschool teachers have been transformed by these changes. However, little attention has been paid to issues of space in ECE when characterizing educational practices. Our study investigates the construction of the professional spaces of preschool teachers in Estonia, Finland, and Sweden. It examines the preschool teachers’ interpretations of their professional spaces in ECE in the three countries. Some 139 preschool teachers were interviewed using individual and focus group interviews, and the data were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings highlight the preschool teachers’ constantly changing work environment and work with other professionals and parents. Furthermore, the findings outline the preschool teachers’ descriptions of their professional identity and knowledge base. The results indicate a need for discussion about preschool teachers’ professional spaces. This knowledge is also valuable for preschool teacher education.