Children`s activities in Norwegian kindergartens. Part 1: an overall picture



What is daily life like in Norwegian early year's institutions? You may have an idea…, but we have almost no research-based knowledge about the variety of activities going on in this institution called "barnehage"(kindergarten). The present study was undertaken to explore this issue. Kindergarten-teachers (31) reported qualitative descriptions of children's activities in kindergartens several times a day for a whole week in 2008 (Bergen, Norway). Based on 798 activity reports, the present study provides an overview of characteristics in the daily life of young children in kindergartens, which theoretically highlights their cul- tural formation. Our study shows that most activities took place in small groups; the activities were typically not planned and were a result of the children's own initiative (about 80 percent). Frequent activities were cat- egorized as art performance, role-playing, construction games, playing with toys, reading books, playing in the sandpit or using playground equipment. Planned activities (20 percent) had clear relevance for some subject areas (such as language/communication, art/creativity, health and physics), whereas other subjects seemed to be more neglected (such as religious, ethical and social issues). Variation in children's activity is followed up in a separate part 2 of our study.

General Information

Keywords: Activities in kindergartens, quality in kindergartens, cultural formation in childhood.

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Odegaard E.E., Kallestad J.H. Children`s activities in Norwegian kindergartens. Part 1: an overall picture. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2013. Vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 74–81. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Elin E. Odegaard, Doctor of Philosophy, PhD, Professor, Bergen University College, University of Tromsø, e-mail:

Jan H. Kallestad, Dr. philos, Associate professor, Bergen University College Faculty of Education (Bergen, Norway)



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