In English

Study concerns children’s stress regulation, learning and quality of early childhood education. Adult pedagogical sensitivity is seen as a tool to enhance toddler´s stress regulation and intent participation learning during daily activities.


  • Research has been started in 2011
  • We study if increasing pedagogical sensitivity can enhance toddlers stress regulation, socio emotional abilities, peer relationships and cognitive development.
  • ”We hypnotize that stress regulation has a significant role in the child’s flexible adaptation to everyday changes. Adaptation is essentially linked to the fact that the child will not only receive education and care but that he/she also encouraged to participate in actions with other children. This contributes strongly to the development and learning of the child. ”.
  • Stress regulation is evidenced in the child’s hormonal responses (cortisol and sAA levels), which are measured from saliva samples during four-year period in this study. In addition, attention, practical skills, language development, cognitive development and socio-emotional abilities are evaluated.
  • ”We believe that early childhood educator´s pedagogical sensitivity can have a significant impact on children’s developing socio-emotional and learning abilities as well as on the prevention of social exclusion”.


By the 2015 spring the study involves 35 day care centers and about 188 children in the Helsinki city early childhood education services.




  • Family background, toddler´s temperament questionnaire, BITSEA, BaP (Parents)
  • Children videotaping (Involvement Scale for Young Children, LIS-YC)
  • Stress regulation measurement (cortisol and alpha-amylase)
  • The quality of the Learning Environment Assessment (Leans, Strain & Joseph 2004)
  • Evaluation of linguistic and cognitive skills (BSID II)
  • Pro-social skills assessment (Preschool Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale -method PreBers), Espstein & Synhorst, 2009). (Teachers)




Spring 2011 and autumn 2012            first measurements

Spring 2013                                         pilot group of children repeat measurements (the same as in the spring of 2012)

Autumn 2013                                       the same measurements with new children’s and repeated measurements to children started the study in year 2012

Spring 2014                                         repeated measurements for pilot group children

Autumn 2014                                       repeated measurements for learning environments

2015-2016                                           final measurements of all children





M. NislinaN. SajaniemiaM. Simsb*E. SuhonenaE. F. MaldonadocS. Hyttinend & A. Hirvonend.(2016). Occupational well-being and stress among early childhood professionals: the use of an innovative strategy to measure stress reactivity in the workplace. Open Review of Educational Research: Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 1-17.


Määttä, S., Lehto, R., Nislin, M., Ray, C., Erkkola, M., Sajaniemi, N. K. & Roos, E. (2015) Increased health and well-being in preschools (DAGIS): rationale and design for a randomized controlled trial. BMC Public Health 2015, 402(15).


Suhonen, E.A, Nislin, M., Alijoki, A., & Sajaniemi, N. K. (2014) Children’s play behaviour and social communication in integrated special day-care groups. European Journal of Special Needs Education.


Repo, L., & Sajaniemi, N. (in Press). Prevention of bullying in early educational settings: pedagogical and organizational factors related to bullying. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal.


Kirves, L., & Sajaniemi, N. (2012). Bullying in early educational settings. Early Child Development and Care, 182(34), 383–400.


Sajaniemi, N., Suhonen, E., Kontu, E., Lindholm, H. & Hirvonen, A.( 2012) Stress reactivity of six-year-old children involved in challenging tasks. Early Child Development and Care. 182(2), 175-189.


Suhonen, E. & Sajaniemi, N. (2012) Enhancing children’s learning through intent participation – understanding relationship between pedagogical sensitivity and stress regulation. Technical creativity in schools’s curricula with the form of project learning ”From idea to the product” – from the kindergarten to techinical faculty. Ljubljana : Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport p. 56-61. 5 p.


Sajaniemi, N., Suhonen, E., Kontu, E., Rantanen, P., Lindholm, H. & Hirvonen, A. (2011)Children’s cortisol patterns and the quality of the early learning environment. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. 19(1), 45-62.


Sajaniemi, N., Suhonen, E. & Kontu, E. (2010). Verbal and nonverbal development in SLI children after early intervention. Early Child Development and Care. 180(4), 519-534.



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