Through several research articles, chapters and master theses the Skoleklar project has illuminated childrens development in transition between daycare (barnehage) and school. Parental background seem to be related to both vocabulary and early mathematics during these years. Parental background also seem to be related to childrens behavioral self-regulation, and we also found a large spread in scores on the self-regulation tests (Størksen, Ellingsen, Wanless, & McClelland, 2014). We know that both international studies and our own studies that self-regulation seems to be crucial for early achievement in several subjects (Størksen & Mosvold, submitted; Størksen, Ellingsen, Tvedt & Idsøe, 2013).
The daycare teachers reported closer relationships with less conflict with children with prosocial behavior and with children without sosio-emotional difficulties (Lenes, 2014; Skåland; 2014), and with girls - especially girls from families with high education and income (Lenes, 2014). This is interesting since many international studies point out the close and warm relationship between teacher and child as crucial for childrens well-being, development and learning.
Several new assessment tools were used for the first time in a Norwegian context, and several new assessment tools have been developed in the Skoleklar project. The new assessment tools were administered with computer tablets (Aslaksen, 2014, Størksen & Mosvold, submitted; Størksen, Ellingsen, Tvedt & Idsøe, 2013). New international tools include the HTKS (Head-toes-knees-shoulders) (Størksen, Ellingsen, Wanless, & McClelland, 2014) and inCLASS (Haugerud, 2012, Lunde, 2012).
We have collected a very rich data-material. We will continue to utilize this for further publications in international peer reviewed journals. A limitation of articles and master thesis that have been published until now is that they rely on cross-sectional data, and our possibility to determine cause and effect has been limited. In the future publications, we will include data from both T1 and T2, which will increase our chances to look even more closely into the importance of early relationships and self-regulation for early learning. We will also keep on producing guidelines for Norwegian daycare centers and school to help them implement research findings in their daily work.
Norwegian daycare centers have recently been incorporated into the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. Life-long learning has been introduced as a goal. An intriguing question in this regard is what daycare centers should prioritize when it come s to preparing children for school. What would be the most appropriate content of early interventions that aim at enhancing children´s school performance? As will be described more closely in this research proposal, the international research literature s uggest that young children´s attention skills, ability for self-regulation, and positive relationships with teachers and peers seem to be predictors of achievement and adjustment in early school years.
On the other hand research shows us that background factors, such as children`s behavioral and emotional problems, parental education, family economy, minority background, parental divorce, and other stressful factors may reduce young children´s chance of succeeding in school. In what way can Norwegian da ycare centers compensate for such vulnerability among young children and contribute to social equality?
We hereby apply for funding for a research project that looks more closely at these factors. An intervention aiming at enhancing attention, self-regu lation, and relationships with teachers and peers will be developed, piloted and evaluated. The present proposed research project seeks to reply to sections A and D in the program. In relation to A we will look at predictors for learning, and in relation to D we will focus on social background´s possible negative effect on the core themes of this study and on possible ways of compensating for disadvantage through the development, piloting and evaluation of an intervention. A comprehensive longitudinal qu antitative study will be conducted to shed light on many important research questions. Additional qualitative studies and Q-studies will be conducted to let the children's own voices complement the results.