Leader of ECEPP

A smiling woman.Zsuzsa Millei is a Professor of Early Childhood Education and Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Gothenburg, Sweden where she leads the Nationalism and Childhood group under the Global Childhoods Network. Her research addresses child politics by exploring how politics (power, government, nationalism, and ideology) intertwine with childhood and children’s everyday life in child institutions. In her project on Microbial Childhood she aims to bring contemporary social theory and biological discoveries into transformative childhood studies. Her comparative studies of nationalism and explorations of childhood memories of (post)socialist societies use post/qualitative and artistic methods and reveal complex matrices of power and seek to decolonize the research imagination and knowledge production. She has recently edited a special issue on ‘Banal and Everyday Nationalisms in children’s mundane and institutional lives’ in the journal of Children’s Geographies. Her co-edited book ‘Childhood and Schooling in (Post) Socialist Societies: Memories of Everyday Life’ by Palgrave Macmillan and other articles and artistic explorations related to the Re-connect / Re-collect: Crossing the Divides through Memories of Cold War Childhoods project can be found on the website.

See Zsuzsa’s publications here


Theme leaders of ECEPP

A black and white-picture of a woman.Maiju Paananen is an Associate professor of early childhood education at the Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University. Her research focuses on potential sources of inequality in early childhood education and the intersection of policies and everyday lives of children and families. Lately, she has been interested two main themes in the field of Child politics: segregation of young children, and datafication in early childhood education and its consequences in the everyday life of children and educators in early childhood settings. Currently, she leads VADA research project that examines datafication in early childhood education.  

See Maiju’s publications here



Mari Saha
Information coming soon

A smiling woman in the front of a tree.Päivi Kupila
Information coming soon






A smiling woman with brown hair.Juliene Madureira Ferreira works as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education and Culture at Tampere University, and currently leads the subgroup Child Development and Diverse Needs in Early Years in the ECEPP research group. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology (Developmental Psychology) from São Paulo University in 2017, and her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Tampere at the end of 2018, followed by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship also at Tampere University. Before arriving at TAU, she worked as a teacher and educational psychologist at the Department of Educational Psychology of the Teacher Training School of the Federal University of Uberlândia, Brazil (2010-2017). Juliene Ferreira coordinated the administrative, academic, and research activities in areas of Early Childhood Education and the First years of Elementary Education (2012-2015), as well as one of the Programs for Teacher Education in Special Education in the National Network for Teacher Education in Inclusive Education, organized by the Ministry of Education in Brazil (2009-2014).

In her research, Juliene investigates students’ sociability in challenging social interactions/contexts (e.g., when members of the group have significantly different developmental paths, or when groups discuss complex problem-solving strategies), analyzing how the diverse ways to establish intersubjectivity influence/impact peer learning. She is equally interested in how to improve teachers’ training, facilitating their learning to become more aware and equipped to support social interactions and collaborative learning in these challenging situations.

See Juliene’s publications here


Members of ECEPP in alphabetical order

A smiling woman with blond hair.Anna Siippainen is currently working as a postdoctoral grant researcher in the VADA project, that examines datafication in early childhood education. In addition to this, Anna has worked on the CHILDCARE project funded by the Academy of Finland’ (Strategic Research Council), which looks at issues of equality in the early childhood education, preschool and care subsidies system (2015-2021). Anna’s dissertation concerned the relations between children and adults in early childhood education and care (ECEC) with extended opening hours from a perspective of governance. My research interests include childhood studies, the Finnish system of early childhood education and early childhood education policies, issues of management and equality, as well as children as part of the system.

See Anna’s publications here

Arttu Mykkänen (PhD, M.Ed) works as a university lecturer in early childhood education and care at the Faculty of Education and Culture at Tampere University.  He defended his dissertation at the University of Oulu in 2016 on young children’s self regulated learning and ability beliefs. Since the dissertation he has published from various topics, with a latest interest on ECE students’  teaching practicums.


Barbara Turk Niskač joined ECEPP as Marie Curie research fellow. Barbara holds a PhD in Ethnology, Cultural and Social Anthropology from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2016). She was a Fulbright visiting scholar at Rutgers University (2016) and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies – Southeast Europe CAS SEE, University of Rijeka (2018). Before coming to TAU, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Slovenian Ethnology, ZRC SAZU (2019-2022). Her main research interest lies at the intersection of the anthropology of childhood and anthropology of work, expanding also to children´s peer cultures, childhood memories, the anthropology of education, rural studies, visual and multimodal anthropology, and participatory methods. Her MSCA project explores the intergenerational childhood memories of children´s participation in various subsistence modes in a rural area in Slovenia and examines the concept of work as a life-sustaining practice pointing to relational, affective, and material entanglements of human work, social relations and the natural environment.


A smiling woman with colourful and curly hair.Camila da Rosa Ribeiro is performance-pedagogy artist and doctoral researcher. Her study is positioned under the umbrella of post-qualitative inquiry, posing the question ’what is that we are doing as we face the future?’. Creating an arts-based process, she delves into epistemologies and ontologies of process philosophy to understand how particular formulations of time support the grammar of Modernity, particularly its conceptions of subjectivity, memory, and collectivity. Theory-and-practice are weaved together in a participatory research design that creates performative acts challenging linear chronologies, driven from practices of collective biography. Black Feminist Poethics is set as an anchor in the study, destabilizing the Modern-Self and foregrounding the enmeshments between coloniality, memory and futurity alongside more-than-humans. This is a speculative project inquiring on the transformative potential of micro-politics within performative-pedagogical creative settings.

See Camila’s publications here


A man with glasses.Devi Bhattarai is a doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Education and Society, Tampere University. Studying ethnic minority children from a cultural perspective, the doctoral dissertation aims to explore how their worldviews are ignored in school, which results in unequal learning opportunities for them. The project, therefore, gathers the perspectives of ethnic minority students about their school experiences to understand marginalization, silencing, and discrimination, and to increase equality and equity for them in the education system. The project’s focus is on teasing out minorities’ everyday experiences and thinking about the best ways to promote tolerance in school systems, even if it requires time and patience. The project challenges global and local presuppositions that occur due to the meritocratic values of liberal citizenship based on cultural assimilation incentives.

A smiling young woman with orange hair.



Eerika Länsmans studies in the Doctoral Programme of Education and Society at Tampere University. In her ongoing doctoral study, she focuses on the early childhood education [ECE] teachers’ professional well-being and turnover. She examines quantitatively what kind of well-being factors buffer or encourage ECE teachers to leave the ECE field.




A woman with short hair.Gordana Jovanović is a Full Professor of Psychology. Until September 2018 she taught at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. In summer semester 2019 she was lecturer at the Sigmund Freud PrivatUniversität in Vienna.

Gordana Jovanović is committed to psychology understood as a human science closely related to other human sciences and philosophy. From such a standpoint she has dealt with a broad scope of topics – individuum, individualism, subjectivity, intersubjectivity, the social, symbolization, conflicts, trauma, instincts, semiosis, social history and history of psychology, epistemology of psychology, psychoanalysis, Critical Theory, critical psychology, liberalism, communitarianism, modernity and postmodernity, qualitative research, cultural psychology. She has written extensively on Freud and Vygotsky, but also on Wilhelm Reich and Wilhelm Wundt.

She is author of Symbolization and Rationality (1984 [in Serbian]). Freud and Modern Subjectivity (1997 [in Serbian]) and Interpretive Worlds of Psychology (2012 [in Serbian]), and more than 70 contributions, articles and book chapters in German and English. In 2015 she edited a special issue of the History of the Human Sciences devoted to Vygotsky. Her recent publication is an edited book, with two own contributions, The Challenges of Cultural Psychology. Historical Legacies and Future Responsibilities, by G. Jovanović, L. Allolio-Näcke and C. Ratner (Eds.), London & New York: Routledge, 2019.

She is associated with the project Re-connect / Re-collect: Crossing the Divides through Memories of Cold War Childhoods. Since April 2021 Gordana Jovanović is a Visiting Researcher at the Tampere University, Finland.


A smiling woman with brown hair.Hanna Toivonen is a doctoral researcher, and she works as a researcher in the project Assessment and evaluation in datafied early childhood education (VADA) at the University of Tampere. Her research scrutinizes data governance in early childhood education by utilizing post-structural framework and sociomaterial theories. In her thesis she examines how data governance in early childhood education intertwine with municipality’s economy policies. The focus is to study what kind of tools are used to generate and interpret data for governing and how they interplay with each other. Her aim is to designate how such mundane policies materialize and what kinds of influences they have in everyday life of the preschool. Her study delves into multi-layered governance system by using ethnographic methods, such as preschool director’s autoethnographic diary, document data and interviews.


A young woman.Inkyung Kim has been a Research Fellow at Korea Development Institute since earning her PhD in Economics in 2011. She has researched childcare and education policies to promote child development and parents’ work-life balance. Her research focuses on presenting policy alternatives applicable to Korea based on empirical research using economic methodologies. She is a member of the Central Childcare Policy Committee of the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare and an executive board member of the Korea Council for Children’s Rights. She’s also interested in the importance of the parental role in the child development. Based on understanding of the challenges of parenting, she seeks to conduct research to advance children’s skills and well-being. Details on her publications can be found on the Korea Development Institute website.



A woman singning.Dr. Kaarina Marjanen is a specialist of [early childhood] music education, with music and language integration and behavior, and artistic learning in a dialogue with wellbeing. Her education and professional qualifications include those of a kindergarten teacher (1980), an early childhood music teacher (1995), and a one subject music teacher (Master of Arts, 1999). Kaarina is also a Licentiate of Philosophy (2005) and a Doctor of Philosophy (2009)

International networks are important for Kaarina. Development of the Multisensory Musical Design (MMD) has been Kaarina’s latest interest, deriving from music as inclusion intertwined with multisensory learning processes. Currently she works at Tampere University, Finland (3.8.2020 -). Kaarina is also an associate professor in [Early Childhood] Music Education at the University of Jyväskylä. 

See Kaarina’s publications here


A young woman in a colourful dress.Dr. Laura Rantavuori works as a university lecturer in early childhood education and care at the Faculty of Education and Culture at Tampere University. In her Ph.D., she researched inter-professional collaboration and the teachers’ joint process of relational expertise in flexible pre-primary and primary school. Currently, she works also part of the Erasmus+KA3 project called InTrans (Inclusive Transitions Across The Early Years). The ultimate goal of the initiatives undertaken within the InTrans project is to improve the educational continuity and inclusiveness of ECEC by acting on two axes: policy advocacy and inter-professional learning. In addition to that, the InTrans project aims at influencing the systemic conditions so that good transitional practices can be disseminated and implemented on a wider scale. The ultimate goal is to ensure that more children and families, especially the most vulnerable ones, can benefit from warm and inclusive transitional practices. Laura´s research area and her post-doc research include professionalism, institutional cultures, and the knowledge transfer processes in transition to school.

See Laura’s publications here
See more information about InTrans project here


A smiling woman with dark hair.Mirka Kivimäki is a doctoral researcher in EDU. Her doctoral thesis addresses early childhood education policy by studying how different ECEC services are constructed in municipal and local level discourses in Finland. The first part of the thesis dealt with day care centre and family day care institutions by focusing the talk of municipal officials responsible of the ECEC services. The article concerning this has published last autumn in Kasvatus -lehti. She has recently received a one year grant from Kunnallisalan Kehittämissäätiö to work with the second part of the thesis which focuses on construction of the ECEC services in talk of small childrens’ parents. During the grant period she is also going to collect a data for the third part which deals with the ECEC services in the talk of ECEC professionals.

See Mirka’s publications here


A woman with glasses and dark hair.Salla Fjällström is a doctoral researcher in Doctoral Programme in Education and Society, and a member of Child Politics research group of ECEPP. In her PhD dissertation, she examines barriers of access to early childhood education and care (ECEC). Using both quantitative and qualitative methods her project aims to unravel what kind of local barriers of access might be produced for children and families from different kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds and living neighborhoods in a context of universal ECEC system of Finland. The data consist of parent survey and the interviews of parents and municipal ECEC administrators. The data were generated as part of CHILDCARE project in 2019. In addition, postal code -based data from the Finnish Environment Institute and Statistics Finland are utilized.

Fjällström’s dissertation is a part of CHILDCARE research project, which aims to examine potential sources of inequality in Finnish childcare and ECEC policies.

See Salla’s publications here


A woman with short hair and glasses.Susanna Itäkare (PhD, MA) works as a university lecturer in early childhood education and care at the Faculty of Education and Culture at Tampere University. She has a background in literary studies, specializing in feminist literary studies and queer studies. She defended her dissertation at the University of Helsinki in 2005 on gendered representations of Catholic religious sisters in late 20th-century fiction. Itäkare began studying educational sciences in 2010. Itäkare’s research interests are related to gender, sexuality and worldviews in the fields of early childhood education and care and fiction. She is currently working on a research article on discourses of worldviews in steering documents in early childhood education and care. One of her most recent publications is a research article (2021) on the representation of Christian fundamentalism in Markku Karpio’s young adult novel Tie auki taivasta myöten (The Road to Heaven). She is also writing with PhD Outi Oja a practical handbook on gender sensitive literature education for early childhood education and care and basic education.

See Susanna’s publications here