WorkshopGuide: Early childhood and gender – Ideas for a workshop for students and professionals of early childhood education. Workshop Guide was made in 2014 by Metropolia Social Services students Aurelia Westendorff & Linnea Pohjolainen.
Background of the project
This website has been created as a part of the project Gender sensitivity in early childhood education – equal encounter in nursery schools (2012-2014), funded by The Ministry of Education and Culture and managed by The Feminist Association Unioni. The project has been carried out with the contribution of two employees: a project worker and a project manager.
Besides producing this educational website, the main objective of the project is to increase awareness of the idea and practices of gender sensitivity the Finnish-speaking early education field through research, in-service training, and statements regarding educational policy.
The project has also been closely cooperating with college students through their theses. Nea Alasaari, a Master’s degree student in Gender Studies, collected the video material for the project during the autumn of 2012 and published her Master’s thesis Children’s play – gender-conscious perspective to the everyday day-care based on this material. Johanna Korhonen, a student of Social Services at the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, in turn, wrote a functional thesis on gender sensitive drama education under the heading Gender-sensitive drama education in nursery school.
The project is supported and controlled by a steering committee that meets monthly and consists of volunteers from an educational working group as well as employees from various partners. The educational working group functions under the Feminist Association Unioni and consists of a diverse group of volunteers working in different fields, especially in education. In addition, the steering committee includes representatives from the following partners:
In addition, the project has been cooperating Diaconia University of Applied Sciences in the form of lectures and online course materials. A representative from the project is also a member of the educational team The Council of Gender Equality.
Pilot project “Developing gender-equal education in nursery schools”
The present project was preceded by a pilot project Developing gender-equal education in nursery schools. This eight-month project was carried out during 2010-2011 and funded by the Ministry of Education.
In the autumn of 2010, partnership with Seta ry, Suomen Vanhempainliitto, OAJ, and Folkhälsan was launched. The project started operating as a part of the educational team at the Council for Gender Equality during the pilot project.
The objective of the pilot project was to gather information about the ways in which children are met and treated equally – or possibly inequally – in Finnish-speaking nursery schools. Three municipal nursery schools from the Helsinki metropolitan area participated in the project. Data was collected by videotaping activities in the nursery schools. A project worker videotaped the activities in each nursery school during several days a week. Each nursery school was videotaped on two separate occasions.
The educational working group functioning under the Feminist Association Union was in charge of finding the funding for both the pilot project and this follow-up project. The working group was founded in the autumn of 2006 to promote gender equality in educational institutions. Before the pilot project, The Feminist Association Unioni was involved in organizing a seminar Equal opportunities in nursery schools as a goal, together with Folkhälsan, Hanasaari, and The Council for Gender Equality in 2008.
A well-known equal rights educator Kajsa Wahlström from Sweden was invited as the keynote speaker at the seminar. The seminar generated enthusiasm and willingness among the participants to take up gender sensitivity as a goal to be promoted also in Finnish-speaking nursery schools. The work of Folkhälsan and Swedish literature had earlier corresponded with the educational needs of Swedish-speaking nursery schools. The participants of the seminar formed a group of volunteers under The Feminist Association Unioni and this group has been in charge of planning the different measures to be taken at the nursery schools as well as finding funding for the projects.