Kvalitet i barnehager i skandinavisk forskning 2006-2011: En systematisk forskningskartlegging.

Sommersel, H.B.
Vestergaard, S.
Søgaard, L.M.
København: Dansk Clearinghouse for Uddannelsesforskning.


This study is a survey of all Scandinavian research on quality at daycare facilities published in 2006-2011. The purpose of this study is to map how Scandinavian research describes and identifies quality at daycare facilities.


A total of 27 studies on quality at daycare centres were included on the basis of a screening of the surveys in the period 2006-2011. Analysis of the studies shows that some special framework conditions and structural conditions are important for quality at daycare centres. These are the child-adult ratio at the institution, the size of the groups of children, framework plan, percentage of qualified early childhood educators, management qualifications, frameworks for indoor and outdoor activities as well as collaboration between the institution and the home. In addition, the study also suggests that the percentage of male early childhood educators and early childhood educators with a non-Danish ethnic background is significant for quality at daycare facilities. This greatly benefits children with a non-Danish ethnic background as well. Research focussing on child-adult ratio clearly shows that the higher the number of early childhood educators, the more job stability there is among the pedagogical staff. This releases more resources and time for the staff to spend with the children. Time is a particularly important component which results in more attentiveness and resources for the individual child as well as job satisfaction and well-being among the staff. Furthermore, emphasis is on innovative pedagogical practice and organisation, but free play and informal learning are also accentuated as quality components. At the same time, strong management helps guide the staff and establish a clear framework that will contribute positively to quality at the kindergarten. Moreover, the research is unambiguous when it comes to socially vulnerable children. Generally they benefit from being in kindergarten, and the earlier the intervention the better for the children.

The study shows that the research fails to focus on a number of areas such as quality assessment, content quality and clear goals for how to improve quality at the institutions. Finally, the study concludes that quality is a diffuse and unclear concept and this indicates that the concept in itself has not been adequately examined and defined. The lack of definition of quality at daycare facilities renders difficult initiatives regarding quality development and quality assurance work at daycare centres.


The data material is based on previous surveys of Scandinavian research on daycare facilities which deal with quality at daycare facilities. Surveys have been carried out from 2006-2011, and this study focusses on the studies that include these surveys. Overall this study comprises 289 studies from the period 2006-2011. Initially the data processing screened the 289 studies for the subject headings ”kvalitet” (quality), “effekt” (impact), "outcome”, "output” and “udbytte” (output). Studies which included these words were then read and included if they dealt with quality, either because they specifically defined quality or because they explained a special understanding of quality. Only studies on kindergartens or day nurseries were included. The analysis is based on the four quality types: structural quality, process quality, content quality and outcome quality, and these were found on the basis of their occurrence in the studies.


Sommersel, H.B., Vestergaard, S. & Søgaard, L.M. (2013). Kvalitet i barnehager i skandinavisk forskning 2006-2011: En systematisk forskningskartlegging. København: Dansk Clearinghouse for Uddannelsesforskning.

Financed by

The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, Norway