Families, Relationships and Societies
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Positioning flexibly scheduled ECEC in the chain of childcare by parents working non-standard hours

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  • 1 University of Jyväskylä, , Finland
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This study examined how Finnish parents working non-standard hours (N=18) positioned institutional flexibly scheduled early childhood education and care (ECEC) as a link in their chain of childcare. Interview data, analysed following the principles of discursive psychology, yielded three discourses on flexibly scheduled ECEC: the discourse of the child’s best interest, the discourse of the labour market, and the discourse of equality of opportunity for the child. Flexibly scheduled ECEC was positioned in these discourses either as the last resort option for childcare, a safe haven for the child, a societal service enabling parents to work during non-standard hours or as a place for children’s learning. It is important to recognise the origins of these discourses and reflect on them to improve ECEC services, so that they meet the demands of safety as a link in the chain of childcare and increase the level of parental satisfaction with them.

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