A teacher teaching a student mathematics at East-Pakila elementary school in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA

Working life

New research from Turku University suggests that the experience of belonging to a work community for early childhood educators with an immigrant background is linked to language proficiency and the quality of social relationships in the workplace.

The study, conducted by Monika Haanpää, a master of education, found that the ability to speak Finnish, a strong sense of professional and personal self-confidence,

social relationships in the workplace, and acceptance and recognition by the work community are directly related to how well early childhood educators with an immigrant background feel they belong in their daycare center's work community.

Haanpää's study involved examining the views of both early childhood educators with an immigrant background and Finnish-born educators and daycare center managers on daycare center operational culture, membership, and activities in relation to the diversity of early childhood educators.

The research also found that differences in understanding and interpreting stated work community practices, such as agreements, practices, norms, cues, and assumptions, may affect work community functioning.

The study's author suggests that daycare centers can be places for many practice communities and that the daycare center as a whole can be a practice community committed to jointly implementing the principles of the early childhood education curriculum and producing various practices.

The study's aim is to provide new insights into the operation of early childhood educators with an immigrant background, leadership of diverse work communities, and practice community operations in Finnish daycare centers. With the increase in immigration to Finland, this research is essential in understanding how best to support immigrant early childhood educators and how to manage diverse work communities.

Haanpää's doctoral dissertation "A Triangulated Study of Early Childhood Educators with an Immigrant Background in a Finnish Daycare Center" will be publicly examined at the University of Turku on March 10, 2023.