Introduction to Special Education in the Early Years—Policies and Practices Across the Nordic Countries

Heidi Harju-Luukkainen*, Natallia B. Hanssen, Christel Sundqvist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Political and social attention to early childhood education and care (ECEC) has increased over the past decade, with many countries undertaking ongoing educational reforms (Garvis et al., 2018). Children’s access to preschool provision has been broadened across the world because policymakers have recognised the benefits of good-quality ECEC on children’s learning and development (OECD, 2012). International studies conducted in OECD-participating countries, have found that children attending ECEC are usually better prepared for primary school and can achieve higher education outcomes (OECD, 2019). Good quality early education, including a high-level special education (SE) support system, helps in school readiness by ensuring that the transition to school is a seamless experience. This seamless experience exists only if quality early education and care are implemented by achieving targets around quality goals and regulations for delivering early education and care (OECD, 2015). Therefore, governments globally are increasingly recognising that good-quality ECEC with high-level special educational supports is critical in developing their country’s social and economic potentials in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpecial Education in the Early Years
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives on Policy and Practice in the Nordic Countries
EditorsHeidi Harju-Luukkainen, Natallia Bahdanovich Hanssen, Christel Sundqvist
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-91297-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-91299-4, 978-3-030-91296-3
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameInternational Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development
ISSN (Print)2468-8746
ISSN (Electronic)2468-8754


  • Early years
  • Policies
  • Practices
  • Special education


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