Jan Varpanen

Photo: Jonne Renvall / Tampere University

Jan Varpanen is a doctoral researcher in Tampere University, Faculty of Education and culture. His main areas of interest are educational theory and philosophy, particularly in the context of early childhood education. His work primarily deals with issues related to the concepts of subject-ness and agency.

In his dissertation project, Varpanen explores education from an existential perspective. In dialogue with the work of Gert Biesta, he develops the conceptual tools for capturing at the level of theory as well as the curriculum the possibility of education that ’works’ on the irreplaceable Being of a person.

Varpanen is also part of the INNOPLAY-project, where pedagogical models integrating craft and technology education are developed for early childhood education. In addition, he has recently worked in the project ”Discourses of leadership in the diverse field of early childhood education”.


Varpanen, J. (in press). Early childhood education leadership in Finland through the lens of structure and agency. Educational Management, Administration and Leadership.

Fonsén, E., Varpanen, J., Strehmel, P, Kawakita, M., Inoue, C., Marchant, S., Modise, M., Szecsi, T. & Halpern, C. (2019). International review of ECE leadership research – Finland, Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Africa and the United States under review. In P. Strehmel, J. Heikka, E. Hujala, J. Rodd & M. Waniganayake (Eds.) Leadership in early education in times of change. Research from five continents. Toronto: Budrich. 

Varpanen, J. (2019). What is children’s agency? A review of conceptualisations used in early childhood education research. Educational Research Review, 28. 

Varpanen, J. (2018). Subjektifikaatio ja leikki: varhaiskasvatuksen antia subjektifikaation mahdollisuuden jäsentämiselle. Kasvatus & aika 12(3), 5-18. 

Varpanen, J. (2018). Vapaus, demokratia ja jaettu todellisuus osallisuuden ytimessä. Teoksessa J. Kangas, J. Vlasov, E. Fonsén & J. Heikka (toim.) Osallisuuden pedagogiikkaa varhaiskasvatuksessa 2 – Suunnittelu, toteuttaminen ja kehittäminen. Tampere: Suomen varhaiskasvatus ry, 120-134. 

Varpanen, J., Mansikka-aho, A., Tervasmäki, T. & Saari, A. (2018). Tampere 3 –prosessi herättää huolta korkeakoulupolitiikan suunnasta. Kasvatus, 49(5), 439-443. 

Contact: jan.varpanen@tuni.fi