Inclusive Early Childhood Education: Similarities and differences of Ecosystems in four European countries through the lens of Provision, Protection and Participation

University essay from Jönköping University/HLK, CHILD

Abstract: BACKGROUND. The main goal of preschool teachers in inclusive settings should be providing the children with an environment that welcome all children, providing the child with freedom of expression and satisfying its primary needs, regardless of the child having difficulties or not and provide a high-quality education in their local surroundings together with their friends and peers. AIM. This study aims to answer which conditions for inclusive preschool settings are expressed in four countries in Europe: Austria, Croatia, Finland and Portugal. Furthermore, how the conditions presented on different levels of the Ecosystem are related to the Three P’s - Protection, Provision and Participation are also investigated. METHOD. This study was guided by the linguistic content analysis methodology. Text from each country was read in a systematic way and reduced by dividing it into the five dimensions of the Ecosystem model of Inclusive Early Childhood Education. This was followed by systematically coding the data through the lens of the three P’s. The final step was to visualize the links between the dimensions in the Ecosystem model and the three P’s. RESULTS. The analysis showed that all four countries provide information on most of the levels of the Ecosystem from macro- to micro-level. When it comes to Three P’s, most of them are verified on at least one of the levels of the Ecosystem. The last question showed that in comparison the macro level shows more similarities between countries than differences. CONCLUSION. To achieve an inclusive early childhood education setting and provide a calm, adequate welcoming preschool environment for all children, whether they have difficulties or not, the Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC, 1989) should be a work base and implemented in the National curriculum. In addition, both structures and processes and in all dimensions of the Ecosystem should be equally acknowledged

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