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Early Childhood Services Norway Essay

Government goal – “all children whose parents wish it should have a place in a barnehage, full-time or part-time. ” (OECD, 1999:12) “All municipalities must offer an ECEC place to all parents … who want to enrol their child. As yet, corresponding legislation has not been drafted to give a legal right to all parents to a place for their child. ” (OECD, 2006: 399) Two separate traditions brought together in Barnehage – * Educationally focused barnehage (19th century – Froebel) * Daghem – (translates as day home) Precursor was barneasyl (children’s asylum 1837) – more social , focused on poor families.

Norways approach to Early Childhood Care and Education Barnehage – viewed as having “an integrated care and educational role” … “care and learning are seen as inseparable activities. ” (OECD, 199: 12) Provision grew slowly – 1970’s increase in service (1970 attendance – 5% of 3/4 yrs olds to 1990’s – attendance rates for 1 – 5 yr olds = 47-60% and increase since then) Very few children under 12mths in barnehage (well developed parental leave system) Barnehage – vary in terms of ownership, management, and funding. 47% – public, owned and managed by local authorities (kommune).

Remainder are private – owned and managed in a variety of ways (parent groups, non-profit organisations). All receive state subsidy – all parents make payments – all local authorities subsidise public barnehager that they own and manage. Local authorities vary re policy subsidising private barnehager. Consequence – 3 types of barnehage in relation to funding (public, private – receive local authority funding & private – who do not receive local authority funding). Variations in public funding – parental fees higher in private barnehage – (except those who fall under the local authority funding).

Variations in parental fees in local authority barnehage – some cases fees the same for all families. Norwegian System – 4 other types of provision; 1. ‘open kindergarten’ – children attend with parent/carer. 2. Family Day care divided into two groups – Private (a) offer totally private service; 3. Family day carers (b) networks (familiebarnehager) – can be public/private managed & supervised by one trained pre-school teacher per 30 children. 4. SFO – care and recreation for school aged children (6yrs was 7yrs) outside school hours. School in first 4 grades – from 6 yrs = 20 hours per week – child spends rest of time in SFO.

SFO – may be located at school, or separate accommodation. Attendance rates vary. Education system overall dominated by groups care in a particular type of centre. Staff in Barnehager 3 types of staff… 1. Styrere (leader) – management. 2. Pedagogiske (trained teacher). 3. Assistents . Remaining staff… * Bilingual assistants (ethnic minority groups) * Other teaching staff (special needs) * Other persons (chefs/cleaners) All styrere & pedagogiske – have to have qualified as ECEC teacher (both types of staff have the same training).

Training in ECEC Norway 3 years full time study – possible to do 4 year distance learning training (mature students with some experience avail of this). In service training available. Admission to pre-school training – 3 year study in general subjects at upper secondary. No special requirements for assistents (recently introduction of 2 years of school and 2 years in workplace = can choose health & social care /child & youth workers option to cover work in the barnehager, SFO, clubs and other services. Salaries – depends on training & position. (OECD,1999: 16) Most staff in barnehager are female. Men 8% of all staff direct contact with children.

(OECD 2006) Emphasis on men in childcare – two main motives: 1. gender equality 2. right of children to meet both men and women. Male workers seen as important to boys. Childhood institutionalised (role models mainly women – concern from Norwegian Government) (Research into this needed …………??? ) Children with diverse needs (OECD 2006) Children with disabilities: Children with disabilities have a priority right to services provided it is deemed by an expert that the child will be able to benefit from attending the day care institution. Children from low-income families: The child poverty rate in Norway is 3.

4% after taxes and transfers, compared to the OECD average of 11. 2%. The barnehage is considered to play an important role in terms of preventive child welfare. Children living in at-risk circumstances, places are fully funded by municipalities. Supports are provided also to enable barnehager accommodate children with disabilities, children from low-income families and bilingual children. Ethnic and bilingual children: An indigenous ethnic group, the Sami, constitute 1. 7% of the Norwegian population. Sami language kindergartens are funded generously whenever there is a concentration of Sami families. Curriculum and pedagogy:

The first national curriculum plan, called a Framework Plan, came into force in 1996. The curriculum, which must be used by all barnehager, is based on the Nordic tradition of combining education and care. A Sami supplement is integrated in the plan. All barnehager, including familiebarnehager and open barnehager, must base their annual plans on this Framework, which is the National Curriculum. The Framework Plan emphasises that both local cultural values and the national cultural heritage, as reflected in the childhood environment, must be represented in the activity of the barnehage (Background Report for Norway, 1999).

A revised Framework Plan enters into force on 1st August 2006. The main principles are the same, with the new Kindergarten Act giving children a legal right to participate in all questions concerning their daily lives in ECEC. The Norwegian Child (OECD, 1999:21) “strong idea of how the Norwegian child should be and what it means to live a good childhood” (OECD, 1999:21). “Important to protect childhood from too much adult control” (OECD, 1999:21). “Adults should not take childhood away from children, but bring it back to them. ” (OECDm 1999:21) Value of childhood & children seen as a social group within society.


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