Competence for developing early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions' indoor- and outdoor environments (EnCompetence) is a project funded by the Research Council of Norway within the FINNUT program. The project is a collaboration between Queen Maud University College (QMUC), Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet), the National Competence centre for ECEC and three ECEC owners; The Espira group, Læringsverkstedet and Trondheim Municipality.
The project started in August 2017 and will end in December 2020.
A short description of the project:
The ECEC sector has identified a strong need for research and new competencies regarding the role physical environments have as arenas for play, learning and development, and strategies for enhancing these environments. The aim of this project is to develop new knowledge and to test out new research tools which will result in a higher competence in planning, designing and developing ECEC institutions' physical environment. The project will look at how children interact with and use the physical environment for play and learning in ECEC, and how this environment contributes to promote play, learning, psychosocial, and physical health. The aim is also to build competence among important stakeholders and ultimately result in developing tools for how to improve ECEC physical environments.
The project consists of 4 phases building on each other. In phase 1 children's use of existing environments in 8 ECEC institutions will be observed and analyzed. In phase 2, this knowledge will be used to develop criteria for optimal indoor-/outdoor environments in ECEC, and an intervention of changing the environment in the ECEC institutions according to the criteria. In phase 3, new observations of children's play and interactions with the environment will be combined with interviews with children and teachers. Finally, in phase 4 the knowledge produced in phase 1 through 3 will be used to further develop the environment criteria and creating an internet based tool for designing physical environments in ECEC.
The knowledge and competence produced in this project will be developed in close collaboration between researchers and ECEC teachers, who will also participate as co-researchers.
The project is interdisciplinary in the way it includes researchers professionals from different areas; education, pedagogy, health, architecture and landscape architecture. The knowledge/tools are relevant for the ECEC sector and professionals who develop/design and rehabilitate ECEC institutions.