Increasing immigration in Finland has caused changes in children's growth environment. The share of children as well as number of staff in daycare centers and schools with diverse cultural and religious backgrounds is growing constantly, especially in the southern capital region around Helsinki. In the following years the number of immigrants will grow considerably. In addition to becoming increasingly multicultural, Finnish society is becoming a society with a multitude of faiths or religions. Never in our country's history has there been such a variate of different religions as there is now. As a consequence of these, the change in growth environment affects both the lives of the children from multicultural backgrounds as well as native Finns. Despite an abundance of projects dealing with multicultural issues in the past decades, we have had very little research focusing on the religious issues relating to the growth enviroment and day-to-day circumstnces of children and youth.
In this reseach project we will study how children and youth of different ages encounter cultural and religious diversity in daycare and school as part of the changing growth environments. Our mixed method data includes the perspectives to encountering diversity of staff, children and parents in Finnish daycare-centers and schools. The daycare data has already been mostly collected (e.g. group interviews, participatory observation, children's story telling, parent interviews) and analyzed.
In this phase of study a complimentary data-set will be collected fron 3rd, 6 th and 9 th school grades of basic education (respective age groups of 9,12 and 15 years) with both quantitative (N= 900) as well as qualitative (N=30) measures during 2011-2012. The data will be analyzed statistically (questionnaire) and with Atlas.TI-program (open ended questions and interview data). In the questionnaire design, among others, an international questionnaire (e.g. REDCo) used in eight countries is partially included, allowing discussion of the results in an international context.
The EDEN-project is a co-operation project with Södertörn University, Stockholm (Jenny Berglund, Jorgen Straarup), University of Tartu (Olga Schihalejev) and University of Warwick, U.K.(Robert Jackson, Sean Neil and Leslie Francis).