Abstracts and Keynote Speakers

Professor Elin Eriksen Ødegaard

Sustainability or post-sustainability is that the question? Theoretical underpinnings and aims for KINDknow – Kindergarten Knowledge Centre for Systemic Research on Diversity and Sustainable Futures

Why Sustainability? Isn’t this just another big political word that can be provocative in our field because it means everything and therefore nothing?

In this opening speech I will claim the necessity of reclaiming this powerful concept, for new future oriented visions for international Early Childhood Educational research, for knowledge about the kindergarten sector, which will make sense for people in the sector. We will need to ask: What do we need to know at this momentum in history - on the behalf of new generations of children and on behalf of the more-than-human worlds that we live in and by? What kind of knowledge is worthwhile to restore and highlight?  And what new knowledge do we need to create? How should we build and design for research along with participants in new diverse realities and with changing demands, locally and globally?

This speech will touch upon these question and argue that ‘danning’ [Bildung/Cultural formation] is a core concept in our time that needs to be addressed and further operationalised in empirical research. Cultural formation signifies more than knowledge and more than learning. While knowledgeable citizens know how things work and know the essence of great books and ideas, this intellectual understanding of knowledge is not enough. As educational researchers, we need to attend to what values are the most important for future societies and then ask what questions must be addressed and where we should direct efforts when searching for new knowledge, new understanding and change.

I will briefly share our research aims and explain some of the underpinning ideas of KINDknow Methodological Design.  

About Professor Elin Eriksen Ødegaard

Elin Eriksen Ødegaard is Professor and Director of KINDKNOW - Kindergarten Knowledge Centre for Systemic Research on Diversity and Sustainable Futures, at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. She is also visiting professor at University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway. She has received research grants from Research Council Norway twice and was President of OMEP Norway. She has published extensively on children’s cultural formation (Bildung), narrative, dialogical meaning making and about discursive conditions for institutional practice. Her research interest embraces cultural historical ideas, global and local perspectives, teachers’ pedagogies and changing practices. She often use narrative and visual methodology in her research.

Professor Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson

Vilken roll spelar Early Childhood Edcuation i teori och praktik, globalt och nationellt för hållbarhetsfrågor?

Idag är det alla länders ansvar att utveckla strategier för att FNs globala mål ska blir verklighet 2030. Barns utveckling och förskolans plats i hållbarnhetarbetet har skrivits in i dessa mål, och UNESCO har just erkänt att de förbisett de yngsta barnen och ska försöka åtgärda detta i det som nu kallas Post-GAP (nästa steg efter Global Action Program). Världsorganisationer som OMEP arbetar kontinuerligt för att göra de yngsta barens röster hörda, och har strategier för detta, men behöver bli hörda av politikerna – och de som kan föra talan för och med barnen är forskare och praktiker inom Early Childhood Education!

About Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson

Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson is currently a Professor of Early Childhood Education (ECE) at Gotherburg University in Sweden and Chair of ECE and Sustainable Development at UNESCO. She obtained both the Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Education from Göteborg University in 1979 and 1983 respectively. She was awarded an honorary doctorate at Åbo Akademi in Finland in 2005. She also received The Fridtjuv Berg Award in 2005. Between 1996 and 2007, she supervised 15 doctoral theses and has been an examiner of many dissertaions. She was the editor of the International Journal of Early Childhood from 2004 to 2007. She was World President of Organisation Mondiale pour l´Education Préscolaire [The world Pre-school Education Organization]), where she initiated international research on Education for sustainable development.

Professor Marilyn Fleer

Productive contradictions between play and learning: Conceptual playworlds as a source of development for young children.

Increasingly concerns are expressed about the formalisation of early childhood education and the loss of opportunities for children’s play in a range of European and European heritage countries. This presentation takes up this challenge by discussing from a cultural-historical perspective the relations between play and learning.

In drawing upon Vygotsky’s (1966) conception of play, a theoretical discussion of practices and affordances of a conceptual playworld is given. It is argued that in returning to the core values and practices of play-based programs, new concepts are needed for understanding the contradictions that support play as the source of development for young children. Theorised are four key contradictions that emerge in the practice of a conceptual playworld and which appear to act as productive force for children’s development. Rather than a binary between play and learning, a conceptual playworld sets up a dialectical contradiction between the:

  • leading activity for play and leading activity for learning (as a synthesis)
  • real world of the kindergarten and the imaginary play situation of the conceptual playworld (as a synthesis)
  • real relations and play relations inside the imaginary play situation (as a synthesis)
  • play and learning when engaged in problem scenarios (as a synthesis)

It will be argued that imagination in play is foundational for imagination in conceptual learning, and therefore play-based programs make a key contribution to the development and learning of the young child.

About Professor Marilyn Fleer

Marilyn Fleer holds the Foundation Chair of Early Childhood Education and Development at Monash University, Australia, where she has been the research leader since 2001 for Child and Community Development. She was a former President of the International Society of Cultural-historical Activity Research (ISCAR). Currently she holds the positions of an honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Education, University of Oxford, and a second professor position in the KINDKNOW Centre, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

She has extensive experience on building research leadership at Monash University where she was appointed to build research culture for early childhood education and development; Research leader for primary and early childhood education (2001-2008); Peninsula Campus Research Coordinator (2009) and Associate Dean (2015-16); Research leader early childhood education (2009-2012); Co-research leader early childhood education (2013+). Collaborative Research Network Co-Leader (Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, and Charles Sturt University). She has received 5 Australian Research Council Discovery Grants. A selected significant publication is: Fleer, M. (2014). Theorising play in the early years. Cambridge University Press: New York.

Post. Doc Abigail Hackett

Young children moving in time, place and more-than-human worlds.

This presentation will examine the potential for a posthuman framing of early childhood literacy to enable researchers to understand children’s meaning making from the point of view of their emplacement in the more-than-human world. I draw on my collaboration with Professor Margaret Somerville (University of Western Sydney) and offer examples from our fieldwork in both UK and Australia, in which movement, place and sound were central to young children’s literacies.

Through a posthumanist analysis of this data, we present examples of ways in which speaking, gesturing and sounding, as emergent literacy practices, were not so much about transmitting information or intentionally designed signs, but about embodied and sensory experiences in which communication about and in place occurred through the body being, moving and sounding in place. This paper foregrounds movement, as a world-forming process, central to in-the-moment becoming. Through our analysis, an understanding of sound emerged as a more-than-human practice that encompasses children’s linguistic and non-linguistic utterances, and which occurs through, with, alongside movement. Starting from movement in order to conceptualise literacy offers, therefore, an expanded field of inquiry into early childhood literacy.

About Post. Doc Abigail Hacket

Abigail Hackett is a Research Fellow at Education and Social Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University. She writes and researches about young children’s literacy practices, with a particular interest in the role of place, materiality and the body in young children’s lives. Abi is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2020). Her project is entitled "The emergence of literacy in very young children: place and materiality in a more-than-human world.".

Abi is a member of the Naming the World collective, consisting of researchers from Australia, Finland and the UK exploring the relationship between early childhood, literacy and sustainability. As part of KINDKNOW, Abi will collaborate with Anne Myrstad and colleagues at UiT – The arctic university of Norway and HVL on Methodology of Place mostly connected to work package 8.  

Professor Kari Ludvigsen and PhD Candidate Hege Fimreite


Professor Tamsin Meaney

Digitalising mathematics learning opportunities with a focus on multiligual children: What do we know and what do we need to know?

Norwegian government policy and recommendations suggest that kindergartens need to make changes in regard to their incorporation of mathematical learning opportunities, digitalisation and support for children learning Norwegian as an additional language.

Recent research indicates the ways that these changes could be done together while still maintaining the social policy pedagogical traditions of Norwegian kindergartens. However, this research also highlights what needs to be learnt if a combined change was to be implemented. This talk with present a model for researching and developing digital apps in collaboration with kindergarten teachers and parents so that kindergarten children have greater possibilities for developing their languages for talking about mathematical ideas.

About Tamsin Meaney

Tamsin Meaney is Professor in mathematics education at Western Norway University of applied Sciences. She is currently teaching in the Master in Kindergarten Knowledge and comes from a background of teacher education in New Zealand, Australia, Sweden and Norway. Her research is predominantly about how mathematics education influences social justice issues.

Professor Hege Wergedahl

Kindergarten is a good arena for promoting healthy eating and reducing social inequalities in health as most children between 1 and 5 years goes to kindergartens. Children's food intake in kindergarten can be influenced on several levels, and both individual level, kindergarten level and system level are of importance.

Recent studies have been conducted on the dietary challenges in kindergartens, including studies focusing on increasing the vegetable and seafood intake in kindergartens. Few studies that have focused on both the health promotion and the sustainable aspects of food availability and food intake in kindergarten. KINDknow will focus on the health promotion and sustainable aspects of food and meals in the kindergarten, with special focus on vegetables and seafood. What is the health-promoting and sustainable aspects of the kindergarten meal; what food choices do the children make; what thoughts and preferences do the children, the employees and the parents have about food in the kindergarten; how is food and meals in the kindergarten used as a learning arena and how can it affect children's attitudes, habits and food intake? These questions are of interest to KINDknow.

About Professor Hege Wergedahl

Hege Wergedahl is a professor at the Department of Sport, Food and Natural Sciences, Faculty of Education, Arts and Sport at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. She has a doctorate in biochemistry where she studied mechanisms for the effects of intake of oils and proteins from marine and vegetable sources. Wergedahl has been working at HVL since 2008, with research interests in children's diet in school and kindergarten. She has led the Norwegian work package in a Nordic project on school meals (ProMeal), and as part of KINDknow she will lead the work package no 5, Food and Meals in the kindergarten.


Associate Professor Åsta Birkeland

Temporal settings in Kindergarten: A lens to trace historical and current cultural formation ideals?

Regulation of time is an important structuring tool of everyday practices in any institution, and as such an important dimension in everyday life, so also in kindergarten. Despite the fundamental importance of temporal order as a condition for educational practices, temporal patterns have been underestimated in early childhood education and care research.

The purpose of the present study is to illuminate how ideas of childhood and children’s cultural formation are embedded in the temporal order in the everyday life of children in kindergartens. Addressing the topic of cultural formation ideals, concepts and perspectives from cultural historical theories have influenced the design of the study and framed the research questions: How is time regulated and organized in one kindergarten in two different countries? What are the intentions and goals of the specific structuring of time in the everyday life of these kindergartens? What are the societal and institutionalized expectations and demands embedded in how this regulation of time operates? What kinds of contradictions are embedded in the daily time regulation in Norwegian and Chinese kindergartens?

Data material has been generated in two kindergartens, one in China, and one in Norway. Observations and time studies have contributed with knowledge about what is going on in the kindergarten and the time aspect of what is going on. Semi structured focus group interviews with the kindergarten teachers have informed the study about why time is regulated as it is in the two kindergartens. The main findings indicate synchronic time and efficiency in the Chinese kindergarten and more flexible individualized time in the Norwegian kindergarten. Traces of cultural formation ideals such as the interdependent competitive child and the independent vulnerable child have been identified.

About Associate Professor Åsta Birkeland

Åsta Birkeland is Associate professor in kindergarten teacher education at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. She has since 2003 been crucial stakeholder for developing an extensive collaboration with Chinese universities and kindergartens and she has been the project leader of several UTFORSK projects funded by the Norwegian centre for internationalization in education (SIU). Her research interest is international and comparative studies related to formation perspectives in kindergarten and teacher education. Birkeland is - together with Liv Torunn Grindheim- leader of work package 6 in KINDKNOW: conditioning children as explorers.



Marie Skinstad-Jansen

Marie Therese Skinstad-Jansen er styreleder i Melløsparken barnehage i Moss. Hun er regjeringsoppnevnt til Foreldreutvalget for barnehager (FUB) for perioden 2015 – 2018. Hun er utdannet jurist og arbeider til daglig i Skatteetaten.

Foreldreutvalget for barnehager (FUB) skal sikre at foreldrestemmen høres i aktuelle barnehagepolitiske saker, og at Kunnskapsdepartementet og Utdanningsdirektoratet har et rådgivende organ og en høringsinstans som ivaretar foreldreperspektivet. FUB skal også hjelpe foreldrene med informasjon og veiledning om deres rettigheter og muligheter til medvirkning på lokalt plan. FUB er sentral i BARNkunnes bruker panel. 

Professor Kjetil Børhaug

Kjetil Børhaug er statsvitar med hovudfag i administrasjon og organisasjonsvitskap frå UiB i 1990. Han disputerte ved UiB på ei avhandling om utdanning og politisk sosialisering i 2007. Børhaug har vore tilknytta Christian Michelsens Institutt, Høgskulane i Lillehammer og Bergen, og han har frå 2010 vore tilsett ved Institutt for administrasjon og organisasjonsvitskap ved UiB, frå 2012 som professor i samfunnsfagsdidaktikk. 

Forskingsfelta til Børhaug er for det første knytt til fagdidaktikk, med særleg vekt på samfunnsfaget som politisk sosialisering. For det andre, styring, organisering og leiing i barnehagesektoren. Han har vore med på fleire NFR-prosjekt på dette feltet og han leier ekspertgruppa som utgreier barnehagelærarane som profesjon. Leiing i møte med styring, konkurranse, endra organisatoriske rammer og utvikling har vore viktige tema i forskinga hans, som er publisert både på norsk og internasjonalt.

Professor Emerita Berit Bae

Berit Bae (født 1944) er dr.philos. og professor emerita i barnehagepedagogikk ved Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus (nå OsloMet Storbyuniversitet).

Hun har i en årrekke drevet forskning, undervisning og formidling i barnehagefeltet, og har bidratt til utvikling av praksisnær barnehagekunnskap. Hennes forsknings- og interessefelt er kommunikasjons- og relasjonsprosesser mellom barnehagelærer og barn, og barns medvirkning i barnehagen. Hun har også arbeidet med å belyse sammenhenger mellom nasjonale og internasjonale føringer og barns liv i barnehager. Berit Bae har utgitt en rekke vitenskapelige publikasjoner både nasjonalt og internasjonalt. Den siste boken er: Politikk, lek og læring – barnehageliv fra mange kanter, Fagbokforlaget, 2018.

Greetings from The World Organisation for Early Childhood Education (OMEP)

The aims and objectives of OMEP are to defend and promote the rights of the child with special emphasis on the right to education and care worldwide. To this end, OMEP shall help any undertaking which could promote access to quality early childhood education and care.

Read more about OMEP here.

Poster presentations

  • Eco-citizens
    Barbara Sageidet (UiS) & Marianne Presthus Heggen with group
  • Sustainable language
    Carola Kleemann (UiT) & Edit Bugge (HVL) with group 
  • Multilingual mathematics
    Tamsin Meaney with group
  • Food and meals in kindergarten
    Hege Wergedahl with group
  • Conditioning children as Explorers 
    Liv Torunn Grindheim & Åsta Birkeland with group   
  • Place and heritage
    Anne Myrstad (UiT) with group
  • Families, generations and belonging
    Alicja Sadownik (HVL) & Sidsel Boldermo (UiT)
  • The competent kindergarten – Systemic knowledge creation and dissemination 
    Øyvind Glosvik, Ingrid  & Svein Ole Sataøen (HVL) Hege Fimreite, Anne Grethe  Sønstehagen og Johanna Birkeland 
  • Leadership and diversity in kindergartens
    Kari Ludvigsen & Hege Fimreite with group