Studying Compassion in the Work of ECEC Educators in Finland: A Sociocultural Approach to Practical Wisdom in Early Childhood Education Settings

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


In recent years, in the wake of a growing number of studies highlighting the beneficial impact of quality early childhood education and care (ECEC), politicians and other stakeholders have implemented changes in ECEC practitioners’ work conditions via new policies and guidelines. One central theme characterizing these various efforts has been a push toward focusing attention on compassion in ECEC. This chapter discusses the notion of practical wisdom as a lens for viewing acts of compassion in a way that is attentive to the complexity and situational richness of everyday life in ECEC settings. Our sociocultural perspective on compassion highlights practical wisdom and compassion as socially shared and culturally mediated processes that are integral to the ongoing lived practice. Reflecting on such moments offers a possible avenue for change in the interactional and cultural practices of ECEC. Furthermore, we advocate that in efforts to promote compassion in ECEC institutions, primacy should not be placed on creating compassionate individual practitioners but, rather, on the cultivation of cultures of compassion. As such, our chapter study has implications for ECEC practitioners, leaders, and policymakers who wish to promote compassion in ECEC.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeachers and Families Perspectives in Early Childhood Education and Care : Early Childhood Education and Care in the 21st Century Vol. II
EditorsSivanes Phillipson, Susanne Garvis
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9781138303942
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameEvolving Families

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences

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