Researchers look at environments in early years sector

A new initiative in Norway will research the knowledge and tools needed to improve the competence of early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers to develop the indoor and outdoor environments they offer to children. Adrian Voce reports.

A new project, funded by the Norwegian Research Council (NFR) to the sum of 12m NOK (€ 1.265m) will research the knowledge and skills base needed to develop the competence of early years education and care institutions in providing higher quality physical and spatial environments for pre-school children.

The project is managed by Professor Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter of the Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Trondheim, Norway. It began in August and will run to the end of July, 2020. Researchers will work together with an architect and a landscape architect in eight different preschools managed by three separate providers.

‘Arenas for play’

Describing the project, Professor Sandseter says:

‘The ECEC sector has identified a strong need for research and new competencies regarding the role physical environments have as arenas for play, learning and development – and strategies for enhancing these environments.

The aim of this project is to develop new knowledge and to test out new research tools which will result in a higher level of competence in planning, designing and developing ECEC institutions’ physical environments.

The aim is also to build competence … and ultimately develop tools for how to improve physical environments in early education and care…

The project will look at how children interact with and use the physical environment for play and learning in ECEC, and how this environment contributes to promote play, learning, psychosocial, and physical health. The aim is also to build competence among important stakeholders and ultimately result in developing tools for how to improve ECEC physical environments …

…The knowledge and competence produced in this project will be developed in close collaboration between researchers and ECEC teachers, who will also participate as co-researchers. The project is interdisciplinary in the way it includes researchers professionals from different areas; education, pedagogy, health, architecture and landscape architecture. The knowledge/tools are relevant for the ECEC sector and professionals who develop/design and rehabilitate ECEC institutions’.

Adrian Voce

Source: Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter


The Norwegian website for the project can be found here
An English language website is being developed.

Author: Adrian Voce

President of the European Network for Child Friendly Cities

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