NECEC2100 Norwegian Early Childhood Education and Care, Theory and Practice

Generell informasjon

Language of instruction: 
Program of study: 
Outdoor Play and Learning in Norwegian Early Childhood Education
1 semester
Teaching semester
2020 vår
Assessment semester
2020 vår
Person in charge
Marit Hallset Svare


Brief introduction to the programme

The programme is a comparative, theoretical and practical approach to early childhood education and care in Norway. The programme provides experiences, insight and knowledge about everyday life in Norwegian early childhood education and care institutions. Simultaneously the students will be introduced to the Nordic view on play and learning, the close relationship to nature, as well as children’s rights to participation.


The basic values of the programme

The programme is based on an understanding of children that emphasizes children’s participation and children’s competences, a societal view that emphasizes responsibility for the environment and sustainable development, and a view on culture that embraces both cultural heritage and cultural criticism. The programme gives the students an insight into children’s culture and the formative influences that are part of the processes in a child’s development. The Norwegian society may still be categorised as quite homogeneous. However, increasing numbers of multi-cultural groups of children lead to more emphasis on inter-cultural work.  Core values in this work are respect, creativity, dialogue and wondering. 


Other values fundamental for this course are gender equality and equality between all people in a social and ethnic diversity. Accompanying this are moral values which constitute the foundation for a modern democracy, and are in accordance with the United Nations (UN) Human Rights. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) forms the ethical foundation by emphasizing the child’s rights to a life that allows a physical, spiritual, moral and social development. In addition it is also a foundation for developing an understanding of the values inherent in religious cultural traditions.

The course contains the following subjects (The numbers show the approximate workload)

Nature and Outdoor Activities 





Norwegian Culture and Society  

Religion, Philosophies of Life and Ethics  

Total ECTS credits 20
The student will get one grade at the end of the course, and not individual grades for each subject.


Forventet læringsutbytte

Main Learning Outcome

Learning outcome after completing this course, the student

  • Has knowledge about ECEC settings in Norway and central documents governing these
  • Has sound knowledge of children’s rights and knows what signifies an inclusive and learning environment in ECEC settings.
  • Is able to use his/her professional skills in play and learning activities
  • Is showing interest for communicating with children in basic Norwegian


At the end of the course the student has developed knowledge, skills and competence within the following areas:

The theoretical part 

The student:

  • Has gained a deeper understanding of society, children and childhood.  
  • Has got an understanding of Norwegian childhoods and child cultures and can compare this with experiences from own country.
  • Has an insight in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
  • Has an understanding on the condition under which children grow up in Norway both regarding legal framework, attitude to children and childhood and an outdoor way of life. 
  • Is familiar with local cultural activities for children, and how everyday life for children is organised.
  • Has reached comparative and historical perspectives on growing up.


    The practical training 

    The student:

  • Has shown interest, ability and competence in interacting and communicating with children, their parents and the staff.
  • Has developed reflective knowledge  on cross-cultural views on the differnt roles a (barnehage)teacher has in different pedagogical  settings
  • Has gained an insight into the relevance and the conditions for play, learning and interaction. 
  • Has knowledge about how children use the indoor and outdoor space in their free play.
  • Has shown ability to plan, carry out and evaluate a project about his/her own country in the ECEC setting. 
  • Has shown ability to lead small groups of children in various activities in the ECEC setting.
  • Has shown ability to see links between theory and practise in Norwegian ECEC settings.
  • Has shown interest and initiative in using a beginner's Norwegian in the daily life in the ECEC setting.


Arbeids- og læringsaktiviteter

Organisation, Teaching and Working methods


Theory and practical training
The programme is part of a professional education where theory and practice form two equal sources of knowledge which are inter-related. The programme is a platform for a reflexive meeting between theoretical subject knowledge, practical skills and professionalism, and the three areas of competence should be seen as a holistic unit. Therefore, parts of the programme will be practical training in an ECEC setting.


Mentored practical training

During the course the students will gain experience with planning, carrying out and evaluating pedagogical work in the ECEC institution, and gain experience with the preschool teacher profession. Tutoring of the practical training is a joint responsibility for all teachers during the course. The students will have 30 days practice experiences throughout the programme of 13 weeks. The practice tutor at the college has the coordinating responsibility for the students during their practical training, and the practice mentor in the ECEC setting is responsible for the practical training in the ECEC setting.


Practical Training


Early Childhood Education and Care Setting 0-5 years, 30days


Responsibility for own learning
Students are expected to take joint responsibility and to have a joint influence during the programme. They are required to work independently and actively to be well prepared for co-operation with children, colleagues, parents and the community, both during the study and in a lifelong learning process. In addition to lecturers and other teacher initiated activities, the students have to take responsibility to acquire knowledge of the contents of the course through self-study, groups, as well as individual work.


Student participation
All teaching and practical training throughout the programme is compulsory. In order to have the various parts of the course approved and to take the final exam the students have to fulfill all compulsory assignments. The requirement of mandatory attendance included.




Obligatoriske arbeidskrav

Kode, navn og ev. beskrivelse av arbeidskravArbeidskravets form (hva vurderes)Gruppering
NEC-AK1 Oral presentationFramføring/presentasjonGruppe
NEC-AK2 Mentoring Session 1Skriftlig oppgaveIndividuell
NEC-AK3 Mentoring Session 2Skriftlig oppgaveIndividuell
NEC-AK4 Mentoring Session 3Skriftlig oppgaveIndividuell
OBLTS Mandatory attendance Oppfylt krav om tilstedeværelse i undervisningIndividuell
Obligatoriske arbeidskrav:
Mandatory coursework:Framføring/presentasjon
Comment:NEC-AK1 Oral presentation
Mandatory coursework grouping:Gruppe
Mandatory coursework:Skriftlig oppgave
Comment:NEC-AK2 Mentoring Session 1
Mandatory coursework grouping:Individuell
Mandatory coursework:Skriftlig oppgave
Comment:NEC-AK3 Mentoring Session 2
Mandatory coursework grouping:Individuell
Mandatory coursework:Skriftlig oppgave
Comment: NEC-AK4 Mentoring Session 3
Mandatory coursework grouping:Individuell
Mandatory coursework:Oppfylt krav om tilstedeværelse i undervisning
Comment: OBLTS Mandatory attendance
Mandatory coursework grouping:Individuell


Mappeeksamen MAP1Individuell mappebidrag40%Intern
Helhetlig vurdering av praksis PRAKSISIndividuell semester60%Faglærer (intern) og praksislærer (ekstern)
Form of assessment:Mappeeksamen
Type of duration:mappebidrag
Supported materials:
Exam code: MAP1
Censor type:Intern
Form of assessment:Helhetlig vurdering av praksis
Type of duration:semester
Supported materials:
Exam code: PRAKSIS
Censor type:Faglærer (intern) og praksislærer (ekstern)
Grading scale: 

All required work has to be done before the exam.

Øvrig informasjon

Target group 

The programme is designed for visiting students in Norway on 13 weeks of exchange.

It is free for students from institutions with an exchange agreement with Queen Maud University College (QMUC).



Students have to be enrolled in early childhood education and care (ECEC) studies at their home institution. The home institution nominates students for the exchange programme. Students send in their application with copies of reports of marks from all finalised subjects at their home institution and letter of motivation. A registration form is filled in by the students after admission is granted.

Students nominated from partner institutions are given priority if there are more applicants than places.
Free movers must document at least 60 ECTS credits of studies in preferably the field of Early Childhood Education, alternatively in Education. Students with background in ECE will be given priority.

Applicants must also provide documentation of English proficiency.

For more information about admission requirements, see:


Further information 

When practical training is part of their studies, students are required to submit police clearance certificate. The police certificate cannot be older than three months by the start of the practical training period in Norway.

All students outside the EU/EEU are required to send a copy of a recent tuberculin test (not older than 3 months). The tuberculin test result must be negative for the student to be admitted to QMUC.

For additional information, see:



Reading list 2019-2020

Texts marked with* are in digital text collection.

Ministry of Education and Research (2017). Framework Plan for the Content and Tasks of Kindergartens.

United Nations (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Educational theory

Bae, B. (2010). Realizing children’s right to participation in early childhood settings: some critical issues in a Norwegian context. Early Years, 30(3), 205–218.

Bae, B. (2012). Children and teachers as Partners in Communication: Focus on Spacious and Narrow Interactional Patterns. IJEC, 44, 53–69. .

Broström, S. (2017). A Dynamic Learning Concept in Early Years' Education: A Possible Way to Prevent Schoolification. International Journal of Early Years Education, 25(1), 3–15.

Bøe, M. & Hognestad, K. (2015). Directing and facilitating distributed pedagogical leadership: best practices in early childhood education. International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice, 20(2), 133–148.

Einarsdottir, J., Purola, A.-M., Johansson, E. M., Broström, S. & Emilson, A. (2015). Democracy, caring and competence: values perspectives in ECEC curricula in the Nordic countries. International Journal of Early Years Education, 23(1), 97–114.

Haug, K. H. & Storø, J. (2013). Kindergarten – a Universal Right for Children in Norway. International Journal of Child Care and education Policy, 7(2), 1–13.

Kaarby, K. M. E., & Tandberg, C. (2017). The Belief in Outdoor Play and Learning. Journal of the European Teacher Education Network, 12, 25–36.

*Kjørholt, A. T. & Seland, M. (2012). Kindergarten as Bazar. Freedom of choice and New Forms of Regulation. In A. T. Kjørholt, & J. Quotrup, The Modern Child and the flexible Labour Market. Early Childhood and Care (p. 168–184). London: Palgrave Macmillian.

Lillemyr, O. F. (2009). Taking play seriously. Children and play in Early Childhood education – An Exciting Challenge (p. 3–22). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Løkken, G. (2000). The playful quality of the toddling “style”. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 13(5), 531–542. 56440

Løndal, K. & Greve, A. (2015). Didactic Approaches to Child-Managed Play: Analyses of Teacher’s Interaction Styles in Kindergartens and After-school Programs in Norway. International Journal of Early Childhood, 47(3), 461–479.

Nome, D. (2015). Kindergartens – schools without recess – the consequences of an instrumentalist notion of play. In S. Hillen & A. Carmela (Eds.), Instrumentalism in Education – Where is Bildung left? (p. 15–27). Münster: Waxmann Verlag GmbH.

Steinnes, G. S. & Haug, P. (2013). Consequences of staff composition in Norwegian kindergarten. Nordic Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 6(13), 1–13.

Undheim, A. M. & Drugli, M. B. (2012). Perspective of parents and caregivers on the influence of full-time day-care attendance on young children. Early Child Development and Care, 182(2), 233–247. 

Ødegaard, E. E. (2006). What’s worth talking about? Meaning-making in toddler-initiated co-narratives in preschool. Early Years, 26, p.79–92.


Arts and Crafts, Drama and Music

Sæther, M., Kambango, P & Buaas, E. H. (2004). From Nature to Culture: a joint Zambian-Norwegian project on Culture an Nature. In A. Gunnestad (Ed.), The Role of culture in early childhood education (p. 57–68). Trondheim: Queen Maud’s College of Early Childhood Education.

Larsen, A.M. (2004). Kwesuka sukela – once upon a time. How to use play drama and theatre in storytelling. In A. Gunnestad (Ed.), The Role of Culture in Early childhood Education (p. 35–44). Trondheim: Queen Maud’s College of Early Childhood Education.

*Sundin, B. (1986). The Importance of Music and Aesthetical Activities for the General Development of the Child. In Ruud, E. (Ed.), Music and Health (p. 161–176). Oslo: Norsk Musikforlag A/S.

Sæther, M. (2008). Music and Basic Learning in a Stimulating Environment in Kindergarten. (Translation of chapter published in Norwegian). In S. Kibsgaard (Ed.), Grunnleggende Læring i et Stimulerende Miljø i barnehagen. (p. 110–127). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.


Natural science and outdoor life

Gelter, H. (2000). Friluftsliv: The Scandinavian Philosophy of Outdoor Life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 5, 77–92.

Hansen, A. (2008). Education in Norway – Equality, Nature and Knowledge. In E. Maagerø & B. Simonsen (Eds.), Norway: society and culture (p. 125–136). Kristiansand: Portal Forlag.

*Nilsen, R. D. (2008). Children in nature: Cultural ideas and social practices in Norway. In A. James & A. James (Eds.), European Childhoods. Cultures, Politics and Childhoods in Europe (p. 38–60). London: Palgrave.

Sandseter, E. B. (2009). Risky Play and Risky Management in Norwegian Preschools – a qualitative observational study. In Safety Science, 13(1), Article 2: 1–12.

Strahler, A. N. & Strahler, A. H. (1984). Elements of Physical Geography (3rd Edition) (23 pages). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.


Social Science

Aase, A. (2008): In search of Norwegian Values. In E. Maagerø & B. Simonsen (Eds.), Norway: society and culture (p. 13–27). Kristiansand: Portal Forlag.

Aase, S. L. and Aase, L. (2008). The history of Norway: A Long-Term Perspective. In E. Maagerø & B. Simonsen (Eds.), Norway: society and culture (p. 30–55). Kristiansand: Portal Forlag,

Angell, O.H. (2008). The Norwegian welfare state. In E. Maagerø & B. Simonsen (Eds.), Norway: society and culture (p. 102–124). Kristiansand: Portal Forlag.

Maagerø, E. & Simonsen, B. (2008). Minorities in Norway – Past and Present. In E..Maagerø & B. Simonsen (Eds). Norway: society and culture (pp 180–-194). Kristiansand: Portal Forlag.

Nielsen, A. C. E. (2008). Trends in the Development of Norwegian Childhood. In E. Maagerø & B. Simonsen (Eds.), Norway: society and culture (p. 195–206). Kristiansand: Portal Forlag.



Bishop, A. J. (1988). Mathematics education in its cultural context. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 19(2), 179–191.

Fosse, T. (2016). What characterises mathematical conversations in a Norwegian kindergarten? Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education, 21(4), 101–119.