Multiliteracies from Early Years Onwards: Lessons from Early Childhood Education Policy and Practice in Finland

January 28th, 2020

Dr. Kristiina Kumpulainen’s talk addressed the significance of introducing multiliteracies in the education of young children. Drawing on curriculum innovation in Finland and scholarship surrounding the implementation of an imaginative project in that context, she explored three strands in educational reform and literacy scholarship to advance the current understanding of multiliteracies in the early years. Namely, she addressed (a) recent curriculum innovation and reform in Finnish early childhood and primary education, (b) the changing literacies of young children’s learning lives and how these can be addressed in holistic and transformative ways through playful, multimodal and cross-disciplinary early years pedagogy, and (c) the challenges and less explored opportunities for enhancing professional development opportunities of early years practitioners for supporting children’s multiliteracies engagement and learning. Dr. Kumpulainen raised a number of questions about the role and purpose of multiliteracies both in young children’s lives and in the curriculum, inviting the audience to reflect on and imagine futures for children’s multiliteracies learning opportunities in and across local and global contexts.

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Kristiina Kumpulainen is Professor of Education and Scientific Director of the Playful Learning Center at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. She also leads the Learning, Culture and Interventions (LECI) expert research group in her faculty. In the year 2019, she was nominated to become a fellow of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. Kristiina has led numerous research projects and published widely on socioculturally informed studies on children’s agency and learning across early years and primary education, cultural institutions, and homes. Her research has addressed pedagogies and learning environments that create opportunities for creative, playful, and participatory learning. Her ongoing research projects include The Joy of Learning Multiliteracies funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and Learning by Making: The Educational Potential of School-based Makerspaces for Young Learners’ Digital Competencies funded by the Academy of Finland, and Digital mediation of children’s interactions with the more than human world funded by Australian Research Council. At present, she also leads the Nordic Research Network on Digitalising Childhoods funded by the NOS HS program funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. 

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