PedaSens intervention study

The PedaSens intervention study is a part of the LASSO research project at the University of Helsinki’s early childhood education. It examines whether a short (five-time) intervention can reduce the stress experienced in children’s day care centers by strengthening the pedagogical sensitivity of adults. Pedagogical sensitivity is defined as the ability of an adult to regulate the group’s atmosphere by recognizing children’s initiatives and signals and responding to them in a meaningful way. The sensitivity to the whole group of children is supposed to support children in the regulation of stress and thereby increase their social well being and learning. At the same time, we hope that it will increase adult well-being at work by bringing more experience of higher levels of meaningfulness and success to work.

The principles of PedaSens intervention arise from the theories of child development and the interaction between the adult and the child, such as neurobiology and attachment theory, combined with pedagogical knowledge of high-quality interaction in the context of early childhood education. PedaSens has been developed since 2013, together with professionals in early childhood education, in consultation with their experiences. During the intervention, workers receive theoretical information on the development of children and its interactive foundations. In the discussions, theoretical knowledge is combined with the interaction situations videoed from the group by using reflective observation.

In the pilot study, the researcher evaluated adult emotional availability (Biringen 2010, Emotional Availability Scales) and the involvement of children (Laevers & Hautamäki 1997, LIS–YC) at the beginning and after the intervention. A pilot study published in the autumn of 2016 showed that the intervention had a positive effect on the emotional availability of the professionals (Harkoma, 2016). The results of the study will enable further development of research as part of development work supporting pedagogical sensitivity of early childhood education professionals. The development work consist of regional lectures and training sessions, and in the future there will be a PedaSens manual for the teaching of kindergarten teachers and other kindergarten staff.

Research group:

Nina Sajaniemi (project leader), PhD, docent, University lecturer

Eira Suhonen, PhD, docent, University lecturer

Jukka Mäkelä, LL, Pediatric Pediatrician

Sivi Harkoma, M.Ed, PhD student

Venla Hytönen, Research assistant

For more information:
Sivi Harkoma, M.Ed, PhD student
Faculty of Education
PL 8 Siltavuorenpenger 10, (h 409, 4 krs)
00014 University of Helsinki
Puh., (+358)504487034