Child Day-Care in Transition; kindergartens with large units
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The focus of this study is the tendency in recent years to establish kindergartens with large-scale units in Norway. This tendency has caused public concerns and raised a public debate. The first contemporary large-scale kindergarten in Norway was established in Oslo municipality in 2005. It was called "Sophies Hage" (Sophies Garden) and was located in two former hospital buildings, called Sophies Minde and Kronprinsesse Märthas Institutt. It was meant to be a temporary solution to meet the acute demand for day-care centres, while new and permanent kindergartens were built. Sophies Hage was extraordinary large with 352 children divided to 30 groups, and 270 of them were under the age of three (Rapport 2/2006). It was staffed by 40 kindergarten teachers and 60 assistants. Both the extraordinary size of the buildings used and the amount children and staff, was a marked change with respect to how day-care institutions were designed and organized traditionally. The extra ordinary scale of the Sophies Hage attracted a lot of publicity and raised a public debate. To accelerate the expansion of the day-care coverage, there seems to be a tendency in the recent years, to establish kindergartens with large-scale units in several municipalities. The main objectives of the study are to identify and analyse recent political arguments and public debate on large kindergartens, with the focus on Oslo municipality. Furthermore, to illuminate the development to current, large-scale kindergartens, in light of relevant changes in the history of day-care institutions in Norway. Objectives and research questions will be approached by identifying the participants in the debate and exploring the main arguments with focus on: The point of view of politics and child care professionals.