”Åpne barnehager i Norge. En kartlegging av omfang og organisering”.

Haugset, A.
Sivertsen, H.
Arbejdsnotat 2014:5. Steinkjer: Trøndelag Forskning og Utvikling.


The primary purpose is to analyse the activities offered in the staffed playgroups (for children and their parents/guardians)” in Norway, their capacity, and their organisation, including staff’s formal pedagogical skills and need for skills development. The secondary purpose is to examine how users (primarily parents, grandparents or guardians) use the staffed playgroups, and whether the staffed playgroups serve as a recruiting ground for regular preschools. The study’s empirical data is also included in Haugset, Gotvassli, Ljunggren & Stene (2014).


A total of 49% of the playgroups in the survey are owned by a municipality, approx. 30% are owned by a church parish or a religious congregation. The remaining playgroups are run by different types of associations, e.g. parent-run associations, or individuals.

All together the playgroups employ 117.5 full-time employees, corresponding to 0.9 full-time employees on average per playgroup. In addition the playgroups are manned by part-time staff and volunteers. Staff possess a range of qualifications, and include both staff with a pedagogical background (preschool teachers, social workers, etc.) to staff with no specific skills. When asked about the need for skills development, half of the respondents answered that the greatest need for upgrading skills had to do with providing parents with guidance and support. Moreover, they would like to upgrade their skills with regard to learning a foreign language, as well as with regard to working in a multilingual and multicultural setting.

The capacity of the playgroups was measured based on how many children the individual playgroup was authorised to have. On average, the playgroups were authorised to have approx. 30 children. The majority of the playgroups reported that they systematically register their users; however the way in which this was done varies from playgroup to playgroup.

By far the majority of the staffed playgroups offer activities for children aged between 0 and 6 years. Half of the playgroups offer different activities for different age groups, e.g. songs for babies and toddlers, massage for babies, groups for bi- or multilingual children, as well as activities for older children, e.g. gymnastics, reading groups and creative arts. On average, the playgroups are open 12.2 hours per week.

They rely on different models for user payment. For 40% of the playgroups, participation is free. Approx. 60% charge a small fee, e.g. for field trips or special activities. A total of 93% of the playgroups in the study reported that they receive an operating subsidy from the municipality’s preschool funds, and 6% reported that they receive an operating subsidy from other municipal funds.

The staffed playgroups collaborate with the Norwegian health centres, other preschools, the social services (“barnevern”, “familieverntjenester”), physiotherapists and services for receiving asylum seekers and refugees. The nature of this collaboration varies, but in general it is characterised by a desire to share knowledge and information.

Regular users of the playgroups make up 61% (users who use the playgroup once or several times a week for a least two months). 29% of users are native speakers of languages other than Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Sami or English. The respondents all agree that the staffed playgroups serve as a good meeting place for both children and adults, and that the playgroup constitutes a space for good shared experiences for both children and parents.

More than 50% of the managers of the playgroups respond that their playgroup to a great extent, or to a very great extent, contributes to recruiting children to regular preschools. Four in five playgroups provided parents with information about the everyday practices of preschools. Moreover, approx. half of the playgroup managers have advised parents or assisted them in filling out application forms for preschool. Some playgroups have arranged visits to preschools (less than 20%) and approx. 30% have helped parents by checking whether a preschool had an opening.


The study is based on data collected via an electronic questionnaire survey. The respondents were central persons in the staffed playgroups, e.g. a manager or a preschool teacher who is familiar with the daily operations. Data was collected in March 2014. A total of 160 of the 220 staffed playgroups that received a questionnaire filled it out. The data material was subsequently analysed statistically, primarily using pivot tables.


Haugset, A. & Sivertsen, H. (2014). ”Åpne barnehager i Norge. En kartlegging av omfang og organisering”. Arbejdsnotat 2014:5. Steinkjer: Trøndelag Forskning og Utvikling.