The work package Communication aims to improve the quality of all types of communication in diverse early childhood education and care (ECEC).

Two girls playing with a tablet. Photo: iStock

Communication is important in all work in ECEC, whether it is communication between children and staff, between children, between staff or between the ECEC centres and parents.

ECEC is more diverse today than just a few years ago. Children speak several languages, have different cultural backgrounds and are at different functional levels. It can be challenging to communicate well in this landscape. Therefore, there is a need for more knowledge regarding communication so that the quality in ECEC improves.

Communication at different levels

“We want to find out how communication is at various levels in ECEC,” says Elin Reikerås, project manager for the work package. 

In the work package, the communication between children and staff, children and children, and parents and staff is explored. How children communicate with their surroundings in different ways is also explored.

“For example, language development in ECEC is a central theme. If the staff don’t use the language correctly, then the children won’t have a chance to develop a language at a high level,” Reikerås says.

Existing research

The University of Stavanger has a lot of existing ECEC research in small and large projects and studies.

“For example, in the VEBB project, we have seen how e-books are used in dialogue-based reading in ECEC. In the Stavanger Project, we have looked at children’s language skills at different ages in ECEC, as well as the level of mathematical skills, and what social competence and motor skills children possess, Reikerås explains.

The projects are very different. For example, “Toddlers Room”, directed by Professor Siri Dybwig, has used performing arts in the exploration of emotional and aesthetic processes.

Researchers meet on a regular basis

“What we do most in the work packages is to get to know each other’s research in a better way. The researchers belong to various institutes, centres and faculties. We need to talk to together about the research that each one is doing,” Reikerås says.

This exploration phase is important before new research designs and tools can be developed across disciplines and methodological approaches.

“The researchers meet on a regular basis in the work packages, and new constellations will grow over time,” Reikerås says.

Everything is connected

When new projects are underway in FILIORUM, some of them might involve elements from all the work packages to bring different perspectives into the research.

“Young children learn holistically and everything is connected. Therefore, we are interested in communication in relation to the other two work packages, Play and Belonging. Communication is central so that children feel belonging and that they are part of a group, and play is a form of communication,” Reikerås concludes.