Hva betyr livet i barnehagen for barn under 3 år?: en forskningsoversikt.

Bjørnestad, E.
Samuelsson, I.P. [Red.].
Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus.


The purpose of this study is to map research about daycare in Norway and the other Nordic countries. Furthermore, the mapping also refers to research carried out in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the US. The following question is explored: What does attending daycare mean for children under the age of three? Focus is both on the effects of attending daycare, and identification of positive factors for children in daycare with regard to their development and well-being.


The study shows that good relationships are important in daycare, if attending daycare is to have a positive effect on the child. The study stresses the importance of the interaction between pedagogical staff and the individual child as well as the group of children as a whole with regard to the child’s positive development. In this connection, the study underlines in particular the importance of staff demonstrating empathy. Moreover, staff must be attentive toward the children and listen to what they have to say. The study’s results show that, according to the quantitative longitudinal studies, there are clear advantages of attending daycare. These longitudinal studies show that when children attend high-quality daycare from an early age, this has several positive effects on the children, regardless of their socio-economic background, however the effect is greatest for socially vulnerable children. The positive effects are seen with regard to the children’s language skills, their cognitive and social development as well as their readiness for school. These effects are contingent on the daycare offered being of high quality. The study reveals that across other studies high-quality daycare is characterised by having a good adult-child ratio, limited staff turnover and qualified staff. The study also finds that the quality of the daycare offered is highly contingent on there being many male staff and staff with another ethnic background than Norwegian. The study concludes that there is significantly less research about zero-to-two-year-olds in daycare, and research related to staff’s pedagogical practices as well as comparative studies.


This is a Norwegian review of primary research published in the period 2000 to 2011. The review primarily covers research conducted in the Nordic countries, New Zealand, the UK, the Netherlands and the US. In addition to this, the researchers have also used earlier systematic reviews. The materials included are categorised according to type of research, e.g. dissertation contra peer-reviewed articles, and these categories have been categorised under the following four countries: Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The Norwegian studies are categorised according to theme, where the findings are organised and analysed on the basis of the studies’ research design. In practice, this means that results from quantitative and qualitative studies, respectively, are presented separately. In chapter 12 of the study, the question posed is answered in the mapping. The international studies have not been reviewed systematically.


Bjørnestad, E. & Samuelsson, I.P. [Red.]. (2012). Hva betyr livet i barnehagen for barn under 3 år?: en forskningsoversikt. Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus.

Financed by

The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research