The Stavanger Project: An extensive study of children’s development

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

Project goals:

Contributing 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).

Identifying early development factors that promote or inhibit the acquisition of basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics.

Developing knowledge that may contribute to the early identification and stimulation of children who may struggle to acquire basic skills.

Contributing to increased levels of competence among employees in ECEC 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: ECEC years and School years.
ECEC teachers observed the children’s mastery of relevant skills at 2 ½ and 4 ½ years of age.
The childrens' skills in reading, writing and maths are measured by the participating children’s teachers when the children reach school, specifically in second and fifth grade. By Spring 2015, the project had conducted 86 courses for ECEC 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.

Project manager for the Stavanger Project is Elin Reikerås.

From a nursery school

Over 1000 children participate in the Stavanger project.