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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

FILIORUM - Research and Innovation for Quality in Diverse Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)

Alternative title: FILIORUM - Forskning og innovasjon for kvalitet i den mangfoldige barnehagen

Awarded: NOK 25.0 mill.

The main goal of FILIORUM - Centre for Research in Early Childhood Education and Care, is to strengthen the quality of Norwegian Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) by contributing with innovative and relevant research concerning diversity, innovation and policy making. FILIORUM means "for children" in Latin. The name signals that children's well-being, play, development, and learning - both currently and in the future - are at the core of our understanding of ECEC quality and focus for our work. Varying quality in Norwegian ECECs, and an increasingly diverse society, challenges ECEC practices and the need to develop new ways to support children's belonging, communication, and play. Research is being conducted on children's perspectives, the ECEC staff's and parents' understandings of diversity, and conditions for inclusion in different contexts. Studies are carried out to find how technology, literature and aesthetics can promote language and communication. Various apps are being developed to support communication and interaction with emphasis on multilingual perspectives. Research on play, such as how play-based learning can improve the opportunities for all children in the learning process, is ongoing. Recently, a project has been initiated to create synergies between the ECEC teacher education, practice and FILIORUM, by linking students' Bachelor and Master theses to ECEC research. FILIORUM started in August 2018 and has established itself as an active network center for ECEC research. ECEC researchers from various units at the University of Stavanger and partners locally, nationally, and internationally, build new networks and expand their already existing collaborations with FILIORUM?s support. These collaborations have been strengthened through developing new projects and applications for external funding. In 2020/2021, FILIORUM projects were granted 56 million from the Research Council of Norway, in addition to funding from the Swedish Research Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Since autumn 2020, FILIORUM has taken over responsibility for the Database for Scandinavian ECEC research, in collaboration with the Knowledge Center for Education. FILIORUM has from spring 2021 taken over the responsibility for the journal Nordic ECEC Research together with BARNkunne. To strengthen the conditions for working life relevant ECEC research, FILIORUM, in collaboration with BARNkunne, has applied for funding to establish NORBARN, Norway's first research school for ECEC research. A large amount of scientific articles, books, dissertations have been produced, and researchers have been active presenters at conferences, seminars, and in media (see separate section in the report on results). FILIORUM has 7 PhD students and 2 post-docs. In addition, FILIORUM has 8 PhD students in projects as part of the center and included in the ECEC research environment in FILIORUM, but these are reported through their own externally funded projects. 5 new doctoral students and 4 post-docs to be employed in 2022, are currently being recruited. Our researchers collaborate with a large international network of scholars. They actively participate in international conferences and network meetings, which, through the COVID19 pandemic, mostly occurred via digital platforms. FILIORUM has four highly qualified Professor IIs, three international and one national, to strengthen the research quality. Together with our Scientific Board with top-class national and international ECEC researchers, the center is a key driver for international networking and participation on the ECEC research front. FILIORUM is a national hub for the ECEC sector. Therefore, dissemination at all levels is of high priority. FILIORUMs research dissemination is supported both with the Centres website www.filiorum.no and through social media. The development of a digital resource bank (toolbox), based on the research in FILIORUM, is currently underway. The resource bank has ECEC employees in ECEC and teacher educators as the main target group. The first resources were published in spring 2021. FILIORUM organises monthly academic seminars, "Forum FILIORUM", for researchers, PhD students, and Master students. The Forum hosts presentations and discussions concerning current ECEC research together with local, national, and international researchers. FILIORUM has arranged numerous workshops and writing seminars related to various topics requested from the network. The annual Norwegian ECEC research conference has been held twice in collaboration with BARNkunne: 2019 physically in Stavanger, and 2020 digitally by BARNkunne. In October 2021, the conference will be conducted digitally by FILIORUM.

Variations in ECEC quality are a general problem in Norway. With increasing diversity in ECEC, this issue has become even more critical. High process quality (warm and responsive teachers that facilitate friendship among children) and culturally sensitive care are essential to strengthening childrens sense of belonging, communication, and play. Recent reports have called for systems to ensure high process quality in Norwegian ECECs, and there is a need to link research and practice. Although research in the ECEC field in Norway is growing, it is still fragmented. There is an urgent need for synergies for quality in a diverse ECEC, through a national center that initiates high quality research, innovation and dissemination. By establishing FILIORUM, we will meet this need. FILIORUM means children in Latin, and as the name of our new center, it signals how children and their well-being, play, development and learning - both of today and tomorrow - are at the core of our understanding of quality and the focus of our work. Diversity challenges ECEC traditions, and innovations for new ways of supporting childrens belonging, communication, and play are needed. These three distinct, yet interconnected, themes will be our focus in FILIORUM. We will explore existing practices, develop toolkits, and implement and study innovations. By involving researchers, students, and practitioners in cutting-edge research, we will contribute to a more scientifically based ECEC teacher education and high quality ECEC services in Norway. We reply to the FINNUT call for research on childrens play, learning and development from ages 0 to 6 years, individually and in groups, and we will work with quality development, organization and leadership that promotes quality for diversity. FILIORUMs overall goal is to promote belonging, communication and play for all children. We will serve the ECEC sector as a national hub for cutting edge research on quality for diversity, innovation and policy.

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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren