Kindergarten pedagogy and policy

In 2020, Nordic Studies in Education is planning a special edition on kindergarten pedagogy and policy within the field of early childhood education and care. This landscape consists of manifold and contradictory values, knowledge, and practices, some of which have given rise to considerable engagement. Political choices and priorities have consequences for what kindergarten pedagogy can be.

In contrast to most other European countries, the kindergarten tradition in the Nordic countries has its own identity and independent pedagogy. This has come to expression independently of – and often in opposition to – the school. This now appears to be changing.

In Norway, kindergartens in 2006 became part of the educational system. In 2011, the term ‘upbringing’ (oppdragelse) was removed from the general plan and replaced with the term ‘Bildung’ (danning), and therewith the language of kindergarten pedagogy (practice, theory, research) has been transformed. The latest general plan for Norwegian kindergartens in 2017 clearly emphasizes the function of kindergartens as an integral part of the educational pathway and as preparation for starting school. These changes may be important for the development of Nordic kindergarten pedagogy in the twenty-first century.

Similar developments can be seen in other Nordic countries. In 2004 in Denmark, kindergartens became legally required to produce educational curricula. In both Sweden and Iceland, kindergartens are seen as part of the educational system, while Finland has placed kindergartens under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and has a pre-school programme for children 6 years and older that is part of the educational system. There are therefore both similarities and differences among Nordic early childhood education and care policies.

Political choices have an effect on the content and conditions of kindergarten pedagogy. Changes in recent decades have received attention from various voices, several of whom have expressed concern, opposition, and criticism.

This special edition of Nordic Studies in Education will have a wide scope and will address various aspects of current Nordic kindergarten pedagogy and early childhood education and care policy. The editors seek contributions that highlight the theme of kindergarten pedagogy and politics with contrasting theoretical perspectives and different approaches to research. Contributions that engage in thematic topics from different positions, from the child’s perspective and lifeworld to overarching political and social processes, are also welcome.

Relevant topics include:

  • Traditions of kindergarten pedagogy in the face of today’s educational policy
  • Nordic kindergarten policy in light of international trends
  • Is kindergarten pedagogy something different from school pedagogy?
  • Kindergarten in a life-cycle perspective: adaptation or challenge of societal trends?
  • Re-conceptualization and kindergarten pedagogy



October 1, 2018  

Deadline for submission of abstracts, 150-200 words, written in a Nordic language or English


October 15, 2019  

Response to authors


February 1, 2020  



Deadline for submission of article manuscript, maximum 55 000 characters (including spaces). See for the full Author Guide for Nordic Studies in Education


May 15, 2020  

Deadline for final version of article manuscript



All articles will be peer-reviewed by two independent reviewers.

Abstracts should be sent to Camilla Eline Andersen

Sincerely the guest editors,

Camilla Eline Andersen, Jenny Steinnes, and Stine Vik at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences



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