Smuds i børnehaven: En undersøgelse af uønskede personlighedstræk i børnehavers vurderingsmaterialer.

Gitz-Johansen, T.
Dansk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift 3, 75-84.


The purpose of the study is to examine the personal traits regarded as being ‘foul’ in assessment material used in Danish daycare facilities for assessing child development. The researcher uses the term ‘foul’ to refer to undesirable and unacceptable traits in the children. The assessment material analysed is: “Læringsmål og indikatorer for det 3-årige barn” (Learning targets and indicators for three-year-olds), ”Vejledende udviklingsbeskrivelse, 3-6 år” (Guiding description of child development, 3-6-year-olds) (the questionnaire for 3-year-olds was used), ”Individuel vurdering af det tosprogede småbarn, 3 år” (Individual assessment of bilingual children, 3-year-olds), ”Kompetenceprofil” (Skills profile), ”Individuel vurdering af det tosprogede 3-årige/4-årige barns tilegnelse af dansk” (Individual assessment of the bilingual 3-4-year-old’s Danish skills), ”Den nemme – et hurtigt format af Københavnertesten” (The abridged version of the Copenhagen test - language assessment and test material) and ”TRAS: Tidlig registrering af sprogudvikling (2-3 år og 3-4 år)” (Early assessment of language development, 2-3-year-olds and 3-4-year-olds). The material was reviewed with regard to examining which children and which traits found in children are accepted socially and are appreciated, and which traits are not accepted, but are considered negative and undesirable, i.e. ‘foul’.


On the basis of the assessment materials analysed, the author constructs the ‘foul child’. There are four different categories of the ‘foul child’, all of which refer to children who stand out from the ‘norm’ in the daycare facility and are viewed as ‘undesirable’. The author notes that his findings are based on analysis of various assessment material from different sources, and therefore the results should be seen in this context. The following categories of children seen as e.g. undesirable were identified: The first category of the foul child is the ‘loner’. The loner does not seem to be interested in other children or in what other children are interested in. This entails that the loner is not interested in creating relationships or being part of a larger group   . Loners often sit alone and play without paying attention to what is going on around them, and therefore the loner can be described as being introverted, asocial and not belonging to the group in the daycare facility.      The second category of the foul child is the ‘contact seeker’ and the ‘yes-child’. In contrast to the loner, the contact seeker is extremely extrovert and overly social in the sense that he or she never plays alone or in parallel with others, but always seeks out company when this is possible.    The ‘yes-child’ takes too little initiative with regard to social play situations. The yes-child refrains from making the rules when playing and does not come with any input when playing.    Both the contact seeker and the yes-child fail at setting clear limits for what they want to do and what they do not want to do.  The next categories are the ‘anarchist’, the ‘egoist’ and the ‘competitive child’. Like the loner, the anarchist is also asocial. Anarchists break or ignore the social rules of the daycare facility. Similar to the anarchist, the ‘egoist’ is incapable of demonstrating care for other children or of considering other children’s well-being. The ‘competitive child’ is focused on winning, and in contrast to the ‘yes-child’, the competitive child wants to be right and to win.      The next categories are ‘the scaredy cat’ and the ‘wild one’. The scaredy cat is very cautious when interacting with others and when using his or her body, whereas the ‘wild one’ is often very physically violent and rarely sits still. The wild one is fidgety and restless and does not care for sedentary activities such as reading. The final two categories of ‘foul’ children are the ‘nerd’ and the ‘artist’. The nerd is interested in technical and logical activities instead of music and aesthetic activities, whereas the artist is not interested in building with bricks or constructing roads in the sandbox. Instead, the artist is interested in poems and rhymes and other musical and aesthetic activities.


The assessment material used in Danish daycare facilities was reviewed to identify what personality traits or properties are deemed undesirable or negative. The study examines what the child, according to the materials, may not be or become when in daycare. The theoretical concept ‘foul’ is used to analyse the assessment material. When using this concept, focus is on traits that in a given social and cultural context are deemed to be unhealthy, undesirable and unattractive in a child.


Gitz-Johansen, T. (2012). Smuds i børnehaven: En undersøgelse af uønskede personlighedstræk i børnehavers vurderingsmaterialer. Dansk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift 3, 75-84.

Financed by

not disclosed