Barnehagestyreres opplevelser av forholdet til skolen i spørsmål om barns læring

Moen, K. H.
Tidsskrift for Nordisk Barnehageforskning, 14(5), 1-16.


This study examines the extent to which directors (styrere) of municipal and private early childhood and care centres (ECECs) experience disagreement with school concerning questions about children's learning in ECECs, and the content of this disagreement (for example, disagreement regarding learning content or the extent of adult-led learning). Furthermore, the study explores to what extent the directors of municipal and private ECECs try to influence school in questions about children's learning, and how they may do this.


Overall, the directors experience only little disagreement with school in questions about children's learning in ECECs. Directors of municipal ECECs experience disagreement with school slightly more often than directors of private ECECs. However, findings from the interview study substantiate the trend in the numerical data, which overall indicates a low extent of disagreement between ECECs and school.

A topic that may cause disagreement is the extent to which adults should lead children’s learning activities. In such cases, disagreement is about the relationship between adult-led activities and leaving room for children's own interests, initiatives and participation in learning situations, where ECECs' emphasis on children's participation may conflict with a higher extent of teacher-led learning activities at school. Another topic of disagreement is about the content of learning, for example where a director of a municipal ECEC experiences that the school associates learning with subject areas that are close to key subjects and areas of competence at school. Similarly, several directors talk about their own or the staff's concerns that ECECs could become too school-like. The interviews reveal that the directors associate school-like with communication pedagogy, learning objectives, surveying and measuring. Concerns about school-like are not always associated with what the school stands for, but are just as much associated with perceived expectations from the authorities about learning.

There is a significant diversity in the ECEC directors' responses as to whether they try to influence schools in questions about children's learning. At the same time, there are marked differences in the distribution of responses for directors of private and municipal ECECs, respectively. This shows that directors of municipal ECECs are most active with regard to trying to influence how schools view children's learning in ECECs. One director of a municipal ECEC (oppvekstsenter) talks about offensive argumentation to support the ECEC's broad view of learning, whereas another talks about meetings with more dialogue-based, mutual influence. Similarly, a director states that she tries to influence school by taking charge of the cooperation process and informing the school about the ECEC's general learning work linked to project work and other learning activities for children. The directors' attempts to influence schools’ view of learning in ECECs are referred to as externalised pedagogical leadership by the author.


The data material was obtained from a questionnaire survey of 2430 directors of Norwegian ECECs, with a response rate of 54%, corresponding to 1310 directors. In addition, the study includes a small qualitative interview study with 16 directors. The questionnaire survey was conducted using an online questionnaire. The interview study consisted of individual interviews which were sound recorded as a basis for transcription. The study was framed by theories on organisation fields as well as pedagogical and externalised leadership. The study is part of the project Ledelse for læring: utfordringer for barnehager i Norge (Management for learning: Challenges in ECECs in Norway).


Moen, K. H. (2017). Barnehagestyreres opplevelser av forholdet til skolen i spørsmål om barns læring. Tidsskrift for Nordisk Barnehageforskning, 14(5), 1-16.

Financed by

This project received funding from the Research Council of Norway through the FINNUT programme. The project was run by the Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in collaboration with University of Bergen and Nord University.