“And If Something, Antiracism Is a Pedagogical Matter” - Finnish Early Childhood Education Teachers’ Understanding and Experiences of Antiracism and White Normativity

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Graduate School

Sammanfattning: Early childhood education (ECE) builds the base for a child’s learning and socialization. Studies prove that racism and unequal treatment are present already in early childhood education, affecting negatively on an individual’s wellbeing. Antiracism is seen as a way to act against racism and lessen inequality. Via interviews of six ECE teachers working in Finland, this study analyzes if they recognize the need for an antiracist approach in their work. Further, their understanding and experiences of racism, antiracism, and white normativity in early childhood education and in their work are analyzed from the interviews with content analysis. This study presents descriptions how racism appearances in different forms in ECE, such as direct racist acts or speech, denial of racism, ignorance and indifference and colorblind approaches. Racism is clear in structures and as an overarching white normativity. Many respondents have adopted an active role as developing antiracists and mention courage, an active stance against racism and self-reflection crucial. They name different ways of adapting an antiracist approach in their education such as choosing material that challenges white normativity in its themes, pedagogical choices and treating each family as unique. The lack of support from the work community is seen as a preventing factor for adopting an antiracist approach, and the respondents emphasize the importance of the whole work community and the director committing to the antiracist principles. Thus, more studies focusing especially on the collaborative work among education teams and educators’ ability to recognize racism, especially in the peer relation of children, are needed. Keywords: early childhood education, critical pedagogy, antiracism, racism, white normativity

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