About ellenbeate

This is a blog for Ellen Beate. I am Professor at Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Trondheim, Norway. The aim of this blog is to share some of my research on children's risky play and well-being in ECEC, and any other research project or theme that I happen to be engaged in! Feel free to contact me on: ebs@dmmh.no

Risky play in the new Framework plan for ECEC in Norway

In August 2017 a new Framework plan for Kindergartens (ECEC) in Norway was implemented. One of the new things in the plan, compared to the last one, was an even stronger emphasis on the importance of risky play.

See an English version of the Framework plan HERE

As you can see under Learning area Body, movement, food and health on page 49, the plan particularly points out that “By engaging with the human body, food and health, kindergartens shall help the children to…(…)…evaluate and master risky play through physical challenges“, and “The staff shall…(…)…be proactive and present, support and challenge the children to engage in physical play and acknowledge their achievements“. It also have important phrases such as “(…help children to)…experience well-being, joy and achievement through a variety of physical activities, indoors and out, all year round” and “(…help children to)…continue to develop their motor skills, body control, co-ordination and physical capabilities

I am looking forward to how the ECEC institutions in Norway will continue working with this in the future. It is for sure an important back up from the Ministry of Education and Research for institutions struggling with outside pressure to remove all risk, challenge and fun for their children!




Rasmus Kleppe’s PhD

This Friday (March 9th, 2018) Rasmus Kleppe will orally defend his PhD thesis One-to-three-year-olds’ Risky Play in Early Childhood Education and Care:

http://www.hioa.no/Hva-skjer/Rasmus-Glaerum-Kleppe-disputerer (scroll down for English summary)


I am looking very much forward to Friday; to listen to Rasmus and to celebrate his achievement!

His thesis will be available online once the defence is finished and all formalities are settled.


English webside for the new project, EnCompetence

We have now developed an English website for the project Competence for developing ECEC institutions’ indoor- and outdoor environments (EnCompetence)


You will find more information about the project, its methods and stages, researcher profiles and newsletters. We will continue posting newsletters, results etc. while we continue working on the project.


Two new articles

Today, on the same day, I got the message that two of my recent articles are published.

The first one is an article about children’s subjective well-being and how it is connected to children’s relations with others – peers and ECEC practitioners:

Sandseter, E. B. H., & Seland, M. (2017). 4-6 year-Old Children’s Experience of Subjective Well-Being and Social Relations in ECEC Institutions. Child Indicators Research. doi:10.1007/s12187-017-9504-5

Abstract: There is a need for research about children’s perspectives on their everyday lives in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) institutions, using methods that involves the children themselves and takes their voices seriously. This study aims at exploring what promotes and constrains children’s wellbeing in light of their social relations to other children and staff in ECEC institutions. Research on children’s own perspectives about their well-being has mainly been conducted among children older than those of preschool age, and therefore this study aimed at highlighting the voices of 4-6-year-old children regarding how they experience their lives in ECEC institutions. Quantitative data was collected through conversations with 171 Norwegian 4-6-year-old children based on an electronic questionnaire. The results indicate that relations, both with other children and with the practitioners, are important for children’s well-being – particularly, liking the other children and experiencing that the children are kind to each other in the ECEC.

You can access the full text article through this link: http://rdcu.be/xy8k

The other article is about ECEC practitioners perception of children’s rough-and-tumble (R&T) play in a gender perspective:

Storli, R., & Hansen Sandseter, E. B. (2017). Gender matters: male and female ECEC practitioners’ perceptions and practices regarding children’s rough-and-tumble play (R&T). European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 1-16. doi:10.1080/1350293X.2017.1380881

Abstract: The aim of this study was to explore Norwegian early childhood education and care (ECEC) practitioners’ perceptions and practices regarding children’s indoor and outdoor rough-and-tumble play (R&T) from a gender perspective. A questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used together in a mixed method design to provide quantitative data of patterns among a larger group of ECEC practitioners, as well as to gather greater in-depth insights on ECEC practitioners’ attitudes, thoughts and actions concerning children’s R&T. The results of the study showed that ECEC practitioners acknowledged both positive and negative sides of R&T; that they allowed this kind of play significantly more in outdoor environments than indoors, and that R&T often produced uncertainty and a need for control by the practitioners. The most surprising result from the questionnaire was the lack of gender differences in allowing children’s R&T in ECEC. However, the interviews revealed that although a basic difference in attitudes between male and female practitioners originally existed, female practitioners changed their attitudes and practices towards R&T as a result of gaining more knowledge and experience of this play through their male colleagues. In addition, a high consciousness of trying to adopt common understandings, rules and practices regarding R&T also contributed to a change of attitudes.

Here is a link to the article (unfortunately not full text if you haven’t subscribed): http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1350293X.2017.1380881

Enjoy reading!


The SAGE Handbook of Outdoor Play and Learning


I have had the pleasure of being one of the editors of a wonderfully inspiring and large book about the recent knowledge and research on outdoor play and learning with contributions from various parts of the world! The handbook has 40 chapters presented in six thematic sections in the book:

  • Theoretical Frameworks and Conceptual Approaches for Understanding Outdoor Play & Learning
  • Critical Reflections on Policy and Regulation in Outdoor Play & Learning
  • Children’s Engagement with Nature, Sustainability and Children’s Geographies
  • Diverse Contexts and Inclusion in Children’s Outdoor Play Environments
  • Methodologies for Researching Outdoor Play and Learning
  • Links Between Research and Practice

I hope all outdoor play-lovers out there will enjoy reading the book!



New article

Rasmus Kleppe, Ted Meluish and I have published an article you might be interested in:



While research has investigated risk-taking in play for children from the age of four years upwards, less is known of risky play with children under four years. A small-scale observational study with children from five childcare settings with differing characteristics was undertaken to explore the occurrence and characteristics of risky play for children under four years of age, in relation to the current understanding of risky play. The study found similarities across the different contexts, which seem to reflect the characteristics of risky play for children aged one to three years. The findings suggest that the existing definition and characteristics of risky play are appropriate for two- and three-year-old children, but for one-year-olds, the study found discrepancies indicating deviations from existing definitions, indicating that the concept may not be so useful for this age group. To develop understanding of risky play, this article suggests new categories and an adapted definition.


🙂 Ellen

QMUC students’ “winter week”

All the early childhood teacher students at QMUC experiences a winter week as an important part of their education. During that week they learn about how to be in the outdoors and to engage in play and activities with children – in environments covered with snow and ice. They learn to build landscapes for play and activity on snow – with and without skis or sliding equipment, they learn how to make art out of snow and ice, they learn how to find traces of animals in the winter landscape and about plants and nature’s processes during wintertime. And much more….

Check out this video that the students made today – from todays experience at out outdoor “classroom”, Frøset Farm.

Click: VIDEO