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Norwegian Early Childhood Education and Care


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.

Norwegian Early Childhood Education and Care, Theory and Practice

Course content

The course 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 course 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. 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 is multidisciplinary and contains the following subject areas:
  • Nature and Outdoor Activities
  • Art/Drama/Music
  • Norwegian 
  • Maths
  • Education/Pedagogics 
  • Norwegian Culture and Society 
  • Religion, Philosophies of Life and Ethics

Working and learning activities

Theory and practical training
The course is part of a professional education where theory and practice form two equal sources of knowledge which are inter-related. The course 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 course 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 25 days of 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.

Responsibility for own learning
Students are expected to take joint responsibility and to have a joint influence during the course. 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 course 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.

Practical training

Practical training is a mandatory and important part of the NECEC2100 course. The students will carry out 25 days of practical training in an ECEC setting (0-5 years). It gives the students a unique insight into a Norwegian early childhood education institution and provide opportunities to try theoretical knowledge in practice. 

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 Early Childhood Teacher profession. 

QMUC is responsible for the placement of the students.

The practical training (PT) teacher in the ECEC setting takes absence during the training and should be notified immediately about absence by the student. With successive days of absence of more than three days, a medical certificate is required and should be given to the PT teacher who will forward it to the PT tutor at QMUC. If the total absence exceeds 30 per cent, the student fails the PT. If the total absence during the practical training period is between 20 and 30 per cent, the student has to catch up with parts of the training. The decision will be made by the Head of PT, the PT tutor and the PT teacher. If the PT teacher is absent more than 3 days, the Head of PT is notified by the Head Teacher at the ECEC setting.

Information related to practical training:
Obligation to observe secrecy
Mandatory tuberculosis testing
Police certificate of good conduct

Study period 2021/2022

The course lasts for 13 weeks (3 months).

Study periods:   
Spring semester: 03/02/2022 - 03/05/2022

Admission requirements

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.

See "How to apply" for further information. 

Study plan

NECEC2100 Norwegian Early Childhood Education and Care, Theory and Practice

Visa and Insurance

Residence permit
There are different rules about what to document, how to apply for residence permit and how to register with the police depending on which country you are from. Choose the right category below, to find information that applies to you.

EU/EEA citizens:
As an EU/EEA citizen you do not need a residence permit since they have the right of residence in Norway. If you are planning to stay longer than 90 days you have to register with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration online at the Application Portal Norway and schedule an appointment with the police to receive your residence card. Please book this appointment as early as possible after arrival date.

You must have applied prior to your arrival in Trondheim to be granted permission of residence more than 3 months (one day more than 90 days is more than 3 months). You need to bring your passport and other relevant documents to show that you are an EU citizen.

Non-EU/EEA citizens:
Citizens from outside the Schengen area have to apply for a Tourist Visa/Visitor’s visa (up to 90 days) or a Residence Permit (more than 90 days) from their country of residence. List of Norwegian embassies/consulates.

All non-EU/EEA students must submit documentation that they have sufficient funds to cover living expenses, approximately NOK 61 760 NOK for one semester (2020 rate). We refer you to Norwegian Directorate of Immigration’s webpage for required documents. UDI charges an application fee of NOK 4 900 (2020 rate). Attached to the application, you should also include the Letter of Admission from QMUC to your application. International exchange students have housing guarantee, and this information is included in the Letter of Admission.

Remember to make sure that you have a passport and that it is valid during the time of your stay. If you have to apply for a new one or make changes or updates, do it as soon as possible.
Health insurance

EU/EEA citizens: 
If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country, you must bring either the European Health Insurance Card (ec.europa.eu) or documentation of private health insurance when you enter Norway.

If you have private health insurance, please clarify with your insurance office whether your coverage applies to Norway. We strongly recommend a travel insurance in addition. 

Non-EU citizens:
Students staying in Norway for more than 3 months can become members of the National Insurance Scheme (nav.no).

All students from countries outside the EU/EEA should have private or public health insurance to cover their stay in Norway or until they have become a member of the National insurance Scheme. 

Please note that this membership means "coverage under the health section". If you should get ill and need medical treatment, the insurance will cover this within Norway, but not in another European country. 

During your stay in Norway you will get free medical treatment, apart from a minor fee. The Norwegian National Health Scheme does not cover dentists' fees or opticians.

Other insurances
It is the student's own responsibility to make private insurance arrangements for any accident, illness, injury, loss or damage to persons or property (cameras, stereo, personal computer etc) resulting from, or in any way connected with, the study period in Norway. You should therefore consider whether you need a private/group travel/accident insurance policy. Check with your insurance office that your policy gives 24 hour cover and is valid for trips outside Norway during your stay (even for a few days).

Reading list

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. https://www.udir.no/globalassets/filer/barnehage/rammeplan/framework-plan-for-kindergartens2-2017.pdf

United Nations (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. https://www.unhcr.org/uk/4aa76b319.pdf

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. https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2010.506598

Bae, B. (2012). Children and teachers as Partners in Communication: Focus on Spacious and Narrow Interactional Patterns. IJEC, 44, 53–69. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158-012-0052-3 .

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. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669760.2016.1270196

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. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603124.2015.1059488

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. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669760.2014.970521

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. https://ijccep.springeropen.com/articles/10.1007/2288-6729-7-2-1

Kaarby, K. M. E., & Tandberg, C. (2017). The Belief in Outdoor Play and Learning. Journal of the European Teacher Education Network, 12, 25–36. https://jeten-online.org/index.php/jeten/article/view/127/164

*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. https://doi.org/10.1080/095183900501 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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158

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. https://journals.hioa.no/index.php/nbf/article/view/400/587

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. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2011.553678

Ødegaard, E. E. (2006). What’s worth talking about? Meaning-making in toddler-initiated co-narratives in preschool. Early Years, 26, p.79–92. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09575140500507892

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. https://cjee.lakeheadu.ca/article/view/302/803

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

Questions about the course?

Gjertrud Stordal
Associate Professor Gjertrud Stordal gjs@dmmh.notlf: 73 56 83 07
Rasmus Kolseth Rian
Senior Advisor/International Coordinator Rasmus Kolseth Rian international@dmmh.notlf: 73 80 52 20