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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

Quality Development through Participation in ECEC Institutions in Norway

Alternative title: Kvalitetsutvikling gjennom medvirkning i barnehagen

Awarded: NOK 11.8 mill.

The project 'Quality Development through Participation in ECEC Institutions in Norway' (KUMBA) is led by Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education (QMUC) and conducted in collaboration with the ECEC owner Espira, Levanger Municipality, Nord University, National Knowledge Center for Kindergartens and two international partners from Denmark and Ireland. The aim of the project is to develop a valid tool that early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions can use to work with process quality. The tool will include both internal assessment and external assessment from a cooperating ECEC institution. The children's voices will also be included through systematic conversations with 4-6 year old children. The tool will be based on the Framework Plan for the content and tasks of kindergartens, and contribute to professional discussions and increased awareness of the conditions that underlie good ECEC quality. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with the ECEC field, with ECEC teachers as co-researchers. If the tool proves to work as intended, it will be made available free of charge to all Norwegian ECEC institutions.

For several years, international research have stressed the importance of good quality of institutional day-care for children’s wellbeing, learning and development. Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care institutions (ECECs) is high on the agenda for Norwegian authorities, and the focus on monitoring, developing and documenting process-quality has increased during the last decade. However, recent research illuminates that ECECs in Norway varies widely in providing nourishing physical and psychosocial environments for children. Today ECECs have access to several quality assessment tools, many that are not developed for or validated in a Norwegian context. The aim of this project is to test, modify and evaluate existing Norwegian quality assessment tools, and through this process develop a new assessment system that will include assessment of the educational and relational environment from both internal ECEC teachers, external ECEC teachers and 4-6 year old children. Systematically collecting children’s perspectives through an online conversational tool, and analyzing their answers in relation to the staff’s and the external assessors ratings, will make a crucial and novel contribution to ECEC quality assessment work. The first part of this project is a feasability study where two existing tools will be assessed and modified. Then we will test the sensitivity and validity of the revised version of the tools up against a standard observational quality assessment instrument. This project is initiated by ECEC providers and it emphasizes user participation in all phases by including ECEC teachers as fellow researchers. These teachers will participate in developing and planning the study, collecting data, and interpreting results. Their competence will be crucial in the process of developing the quality assessment system into a highly professional, ethical justifiable and usable tool for ECEC institutions in Norway.

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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren