Kvalitet i barnehager: Rapport fra en undersøkelse av strukturell kvalitet høsten 2012.

Gulbrandsen, L.
Eliassen, E.
Oslo: Norsk institutt for forskning om oppvekst, velferd og aldring (NOVA).


The purpose of this study is to examine the changes in the structural quality of Norwegian daycare centres (barnehagen) over a longer period from 2002 to 2012. Structural quality means the properties of Norwegian framework conditions such as buildings, outdoor areas, work routines, organisation and management methods, planning, financial intervention factors, staffing, staff competences and staff stability. 


The study shows that there have been significant changes in Norwegian daycare centres (barnehagen) since 2002.

The number of children per daycare centre has increased significantly from a median value of 37 (2004) to 47 children (2012). There is less turnover among the staff groups at the daycare centres, and more managers stay in their job for five years or more. The study also shows that overall the percentage of male employees - pedagogical employees as well as other personnel - has risen from 33% to 57% from 2002 to 2012. A clear majority of the managers believed that the kindergartens had enough employees with adequate competences to carry out their job. This may be associated with more training and continuing training initiatives since 2002; the municipal and private kindergartens have become more similar over time regarding this structural parameter.

The study also deals with the question of how much of the Norwegian framework plan has been implemented in daily work. The study reveals that daycare centres are more likely to work with topics and areas from the framework plan than previously. Out of the seven subject areas of the framework plan, the daycare centres work most with "communication, language and text". The study concludes that the increased use of the framework plan correlates with an improvement in the content quality at daycare centres.

Another element of structural quality concerns methodologies to map the children's language development. In 2008, 60% of daycare centres had established procedures to assess language development. This percentage had increased considerably by 2012. This is also the case with initiatives to make the children's transition to school easier. In 2004, 72% of kindergartens had initiatives to prepare children for school, while in 2012 almost all kindergartens had such initiatives.

Overall the study shows that factors such as the size and form of ownership of the kindergartens have little significance for managers' responses. The study concludes that structural inequalities have been reduced, and that daycare centres are more equal in what they can offer children.


The data material is based on a questionnaire survey of 1,000 representatively selected Norwegian daycare centres (barnehagen). The questionnaire contained 67 questions and was sent to the daycare centres in September 2012. The managers of the institutions completed the questionnaires. The overall response rate among the selected daycare centres was 65%. This is the fourth time such a study has been carried out. A similar questionnaire survey was completed in 2002, 2004 and 2008. The questionnaire from 2012 had been expanded considerably compared to 2002 and 2004, while it was almost identical with the questionnaire from 2008. Therefore, developments of some topics can be followed back to 2002, whereas other developments can only be followed from 2008.


Gulbrandsen, L. & Eliassen, E. (2013). Kvalitet i barnehager: Rapport fra en undersøkelse av strukturell kvalitet høsten 2012. Oslo: Norsk institutt for forskning om oppvekst, velferd og aldring (NOVA).

Financed by

The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research