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A commitment to kindergarten at the Centre for Behavioural Research

During the last years Centre for Behavioural Research has strengthened its focus on the youngest children through several new projects.

Research projects such as The challenging children, Being together and Skoleklar are all related to research in kindergarten. In addition, the center has researchers in a big project called the Stavanger Project. We asked the director at Centre for Behavioural Research, Unni Vere Midthassel, about the main goals of the center, and why it is so important for the center to focus on the youngest children.

- We have a vision at SAF that our research and dissemination will help to reduce social and emotional problems in kindergarten and school, and our main goal is to be a leading practice-related research institution. It is important for us to produce research of high quality, and research on topics that are important to children's social and emotional development. Many of the premises for development appear early in life. Therefore it is important to understand the relationship between children's ability to focus, social skills and to adjust rules and their development. The Skoleklar project will follow children from kindergarten into school. It will provide opportunities to gain insight into factors that promote or inhibit their learning opportunities in school age, says Midthassel.

Early intervention efforts are highlighted as particularly important in several national documents, such as the White Paper 16, in several NOU's (Midtlyng and Flatø Committee), in the Kindergarten Act and in the framework plan for kindergartens. - One of the reasons for this is the recognition that intervention often comes too late and that individual children will suffer needlessly.
Having knowledge about what is important for a good academic and psychosocial development, will help the staff and parents to know what to look for. In addition, it is important to do intervention research in order to find the best way for early intervention, says Midthassel.