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Nordic Early Childhood Systems Approach Research group (NECA)

The new inter-disciplinary research group reflects the understanding that families and preschool play important roles in the shaping of children's outcomes, including their academic, social, health, well-being and beliefs. Our unit of study includes the child, their families and the institutions where families are involved. We consider that concept of family as a multifaceted concept embracing diversity. Families are continually evolving and take on many different forms.


Within the research network, the aim of the network is to:

  • Establish a network of researchers in Nordic countries for systems approach research related to early childhood and education and families
  • Provide three workshops in the network to deepen and advance the research area of early childhood embracing family, preschool and society
  • Create joint publications based on the research group's interests and research areas leading to enhanced dissemination of knowledge into society
  • Create a supportive environment for early stage researchers to be mentored
  • Develop opportunities for joint research proposals in systems approach research of the Nordic countries
  • Provide a website with important information for researchers, the community and policy makers about key research.


NECA will be an inter-disciplinary research group that draws upon a range of theoretical perspectives and methodologies including quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods methodologies. We would like to bring together members from all parts of the society to discuss and share information about children and families. This includes researchers, government representatives, service representatives, community representatives, family/parent representatives and teacher representatives.


SWEDEN Co-ordinators:

Susanne Garvis, professor at Gothenburg University, Dept of education, communication and learning
E-mail: susanne.garvis@gu.se

Sonja Sheridan, professor at Gothenburg University, Dept of education, communication and learning
E-mail: sonja.sheridan@ped.gu.se

Pia Williams, professor at Gothenburg University, Dept of education, communication and learning
E-mail: pia.williams@ped.gu.se

FINLAND Co-ordinator:

Heidi Harju-Luukkainen, University Lecturer and PhD at the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Helsinki
E-mail: heidi.harju@helsinki.fi

NORWAY Co-ordinator:

Elin Eriksen Ødegaard, professor at the Centre for Educational Research and Dean of research at the Department of Teacher education at Bergen University College
E-mail: elin.eriksen.odegaard@hib.no

Project funding

Vetenskapsrådet (Swedish Research Council)

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