''Diverse similarities'' : early childhood care and education in Norway : perspectives from immigrant parents and teachers
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This study aims at analyzing diversity in child upbringing practices and institutionalized Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Norway. In view of the increased number of immigrants in the country, the study explores immigrant parents’ early childhood experiences (out of Norway) and that of their children who are being raised in Norway. It also captures parents’ expectations and experiences with Norwegian barnehager, which are the Norwegian equivalent of institutionalized child upbringing or ECEC. Thus, the perspectives and experiences of barnehage teachers in relation to values and learning goals during early childhood are also presented and discussed in this study. Fieldwork was carried out in one Norwegian city with parents and barnehage teachers as key respondents. Empirical data was co-generated through interviews and focus group discussions over a period of four months. The theoretical perspectives on childhood that informed this study include; the social construction of childhood and parenthood; socialization theory, and children’s rights. These perspectives attempt to explain parents’ choices in child upbringing practices, children’s participation in institutionalized early childhood care and learning and the care and learning values emphasized in the different societies ‘represented’ in this study. Empirical data from the study revealed that most parents, especially from the global south experienced a rather different kind of child upbringing from that of children in Norway. Although most parents were eager to pass on the same early childhood care and learning values emphasized by their parents, they were also appreciative of most care and learning values emphasized in the Norwegian society. Thus, some were happy to combine values from both their non-Norwegian and Norwegian societies.