Rinnalla (Side by Side) – Mentors of Arts- and Narrative-based Approaches as a Support for Social-Emotional Learning and Growth in Early Childhood Education

Social-emotional difficulties are one of the most critical challenges in early childhood education. Various arts- and narrative-based methods could offer effective tools for supporting the social-emotional competencies of children in early childhood education. Rinnalla- (Side by side) project aims at inventing and further developing arts-and narrative-based approaches to support the social-emotional learning and growth of children.

Additionally, the project investigates an innovative model to further education. The experts of the project educate several mentors of social-emotional competence and arts-based as well as narrative approaches. These mentors will work in local child care groups side by side with the staff and children. The aim is to help the child care staff to embrace these arts- and narrative-based methods in practice. As a result, Rinnalla-project creates a model for further education that is implemented in an authentic environment and promotes both learning and performance of the staff and increases  networking of early childhood researchers and teachers. Methods investigated and developed during the project are Deep Talk, Pritney, StoRe, Silkway and Learning Stories.

Rinnalla-project is based on the National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care (2018) which emphasizes different artistic experiences and their ability to promote social skills, interaction skills and positive self-image.

Rinnalla-project was funded by the National Board of Education in Finland from December 2018 until the end of December 2020. Key actors in the project were the Universities of Turku and Oulu. The lead of the project was Marita Neitola from the University of Turku (marita.neitola@utu.fi).