Finnish Early Childhood Education and Care: Why Worldview Sensitivity Matters

  • Liam GearonEmail author
  • Arniika Kuusisto
Part of the Wiener Beiträge zur Islamforschung book series (WSI)


This article makes the case for the importance of worldview sensitivity in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). Finland is used here as a case study setting—its systems for intercultural understanding in early childhood education and care, with particular reference to OECD’s (2018) PISA Global Competence Framework. In this context, worldview sensitivity, or the newly framed term of global competency, so often at the fore in societal debates on education’s socializing role in public life, are, as is suggested, a ‘subset’ in the wider frame of value learning. Drawing on one of the authors’ (Gearon) experiences in developing UNESCO’s (2007) Guidelines on Intercultural Understanding as well as their multi-dimensional policy and research modeling of value learning in life trajectory (Kuusisto and Gearon 2017), the article outlines the continued need for integrated thinking on intercultural understanding and worldview sensitivity across all educational phases, beginning with Early Childhood Education and Care. Detailing the complexities of their Value Learning Trajectory Model (VLT), the authors outline the need for a systematic framework which integrates policy and research in three domains: context (placing value learning policy and research at the intersectional interface of macro historical-political-religious traditions); theory (framing value learning in the life trajectory through micro biographical narratives); method (modeling value learning in life trajectories as a process of ongoing negotiation between macro historical-political-religious traditions and micro biographical narratives). In doing so the authors show how and why worldview sensitivity is a matter of acute significance for professionals and for pupils, for researchers and policy-makers.


Finland’s education system introduction Religious sensitivity Ethics of encounter Early childhood education 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OxfordUK
  2. 2.BrommaSweden

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