Extensive study of children’s development - The Stavanger Project

The Stavanger Project - The Learning Child is a multi-discipline, longitudinal study conducted by the University of Stavanger in collaboration with the City of Stavanger. The project seeks to gain new knowledge on the development of children aged 2 1/2 to 10 years of age.

Project goals:

  • Contribute to increased knowledge on the development of kindergarten- and school-age children; within and between the areas of language, mathematics, motor skills and social competency in kindergarten-age children (2 ½ to 6 years of age), and reading, writing and mathematics in school-age children (6 to 10 years of age).
  • Identify early development factors that promote or inhibit the acquisition of basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics.
  • Develop knowledge that may contribute to the early identification and stimulation of children who may struggle to acquire basic skills.
  • Contribute to increased levels of competence among employees in kindergartens and schools, in the Educational and Psychological Service (PPT) and in the physiotherapy and occupational therapy services.

1345 children born between July 1st, 2005 to December 31st, 2007 participate in the project. Participation in the project requires written parental consent. The study commenced in 2007 and will reach completion in 2018.

The Stavanger study consists of two main phases: Kindergarten years and School years. The data collection on kindergarten-age children is completed, and the first data collection on school-age children was completed in Spring 2015.

Kindergarten teachers observed the children’s mastery of relevant skills at 2 ½ and 4 ½ years of age. Reading-, writing- and math-skills are measured by the participating children’s teachers when the children reach school, specifically in second and fifth grade. By Spring 2015, the project has conducted 86 courses for kindergarten employees, and 37 for schools.

The study is conducted in adherence with Norwegian data protection rules. The project’s ethical guidelines assures the children’s anonymity. The same children are participating in both phases of the project.
The project is multi-institutional, involving researchers from the Reading Centre, the Centre for Learning Environment, the Department of Early Childhood Education, and the Department of Education and Sports Science at the University of Stavanger. The Stavanger project is a Stavanger University program area. Program areas are the University’s main areas of research.  

Project manager for the Stavanger Project is Elin Reikerås.

Research group of the Stavanger project.



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From a nursery school

Over 80 nursery schools and day care centres participate in the Stavanger project

The Stavanger Project in figures:

Girl playing
  • Over 80 nursery schools / day care centres participate 
  • Roughly 2000 children participate 
  • 1000 nursery school staff members are involved as observers
  • Four disciplines are covered: - maths, language, motor skills and social skills. 
  • Each child is followed for eight years 
  • Two and a half sets of school classes are involved