Wellbeing of Children in and across Daycare, School, and Home

Our research contributes to nuanced understandings of children’s well-being. Central to our work is pedagogy and play, participation and communities, development and resilience.

Learn more about our work

Increasing knowledge about how children thrive

We understand our role to help increase the knowledge of what makes children thrive – seeing this as both a concept and phenomenon. We do so to strengthen the way we understand and work with children in day-care centres, schools, and home settings.
The well-being of children is only understood if you look at where children live their lives. Anette Boye Koch, Head of Research Programme

Participation as a door to thriving? 

Knowledge about how children perceive their participation in groups at school, can help qualify how teachers and school professionals can support all children in actively participating in school groups and communities. 

For more information, contact Merete Munkholm at merm@via.dk 

Review of children’s ability to thrive

We carried out a systematic review across Scandinavia, looking at how thriving is understood in research across day-care centres, schools and homes. We came up with eight ways children’s ability to thrive or not is seen across areas and countries. 
Read it here (in Danish)

How we work

  • We study, among other things:

    - Interprofessional collaboration
    - Parental cooperation
    - Early Childhood Education and Care institutions (ECEC)
    - Schools
    - Homes
    - Childhood pedagogy and children's perspectives
    - Play and participation
    - Inclusion and inequality
    - Health promotion

  • Our research starts with the fact that children live their lives across locations and contexts. Therefore, our research spans across professions and educational programmes and looks at pedagogical, psychological, and relational angles. Creating well-being for all children can only happen if you include children's own perspectives. Our expertise is to include all the places in which children live their lives, including early childhood education and care institutions (ECEC), schools, and homes. 

  • National and international cooperation

    We collaborate with local, national and international partners, including state and local authorities, other research institutions, children’s organisations, and professional bodies.

    We have developed a significant knowledge in our field and are widely used as expert partners, and share our knowledge nationally and internationally.

  • Blomgren, H. (2022). Let´s hide it! Unfolding play and peer culture in a Danish prep class. BUKS - Tidsskrift for Børne- og Ungdomskultur, 38(66), 105-121. https://tidsskrift.dk/buks/article/view/133775/178844 

    Blomgren, H. (2021). Play pockets in kindergartens: on framing blurred practices with art, pedagogy, and play. I H. Park, & C. M. Schulte (red.), Visual arts with young children: practices, pedagogies, and learning (s. 100-110). Routledge.

    Blomgren, H. (2020). Aesthetically sensitive pathways to knowledge in and through action research in Danish kindergartens. Educational Action Research, 28(5), 758-774. Read here

    Hygum, C. U. & E. Hygum (2021) Crèche and cry, here and there: exploring children’s agency in Romanian and Danish nurseries. Ethnography and Education. Volume 16, 2021 – Issue 3: What matters in early childhood education. 327-342. Read here (Published online: 06 Apr 2021)

    Hygum, E.:  & Hygum, C., U. (2022) Beyond the rules, behind a smile: Children’s oppositional actions in nurseries. Under review, submitted 12.01.22

    Hygum, C., U. & Hygum, E. (2022) Mind the crèches! Controversial perspectives on the educational quality of Romanian créches. Under review, submitted 20.03.22

    Hygum, C. U. & Hygum, E. (2022) Starting strong, starting early! Children participation in the interactional space of the nursery. In print December 2022

    Koch, A.B. & Jensen, J.J. (in review). ”Denmark – ECEC Workforce Profile”. In: Early Childhood Workforce profiles in 33 countries with Key Contextual Data, edited by P. Oberhuemer and I. Schreyer. Munich. www.seepro.eu. 

    Kascak, O. & Koch, A.B. (2022) Early childhood education and care traditions and policy in an expanding Europe, Early Years, DOI: 10.1080/09575146.2022.2047012

    Koch, A.B. (2022). Child wellbeing in early childhood education and care during Covid-19: Child-sensitivity in small, fixed groups. Children & Society, DOI: 10.1111/CHSO.12569 

    Koch, A.B. (2021). Children as participants in research. Playful interactions and negotiation of researcher-child relationships. Early Years. 41 (4) 381-395. DOI: 10.1080/09575146.2019.1581730. (published online: 26 Feb 2019).

    Koch, A.B. & Brandt. E.Z. (2021). The use of digital media to support and enhance vulnerable children’s perspectives, voices and choices. Children & Society. 35:229-234. DOI: 10.1111/chso.12421  

    Koch, A. B. (2018), Children's Perspectives on Happiness and Subjective Well-being in Preschool. Children & Society, 32: 73–83. Read here

    Koch, A.B. (2017). Sounds of Education: Teacher Role and Use of Voice in Interactions with Young Children. International Journal of Early Childhood, 49: 57-72. Read here

    Jørgensen, H. H., Skovbjerg, H. M. & Bang, A. L. (2022). Dramatic reflections: Enhancing play qualities in a design experiment for inclusive play practices in school. Proceedings of DRS 2022:Bilbao. Read here

    Jørgensen, H. H., Skovbjerg, H. M, & Eriksen, M. A. (2021). Appropriating a DBR model for a ‘research through codesign’ project on play in schools – to frame participation. In E.Brandt, T. Markussen, E. Berglund, G. Julier & P. Linde (Eds.), Proceedings of Nordes. Matters of Scale (pp. 444–453). Retrieved from https://conference2021nordes.org/ 

    Jørgensen, H. H. (2020). Narrative inquiry for play design opportunities. In S. Gudiksen & H. M. Skovbjerg (Eds.), Framing play design: A hands-on guide for designers, learners and innovators (pp. 103–114). London: BIS Publishers.

    Molbæk, M. (2018). Inclusive teaching strategies - dimensions and agendas. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 22(10), 1048-1061. Read here

    Molbæk, M., Hansen, J. H., Lassen, M., Schmidt, M. C. S., & Jensen, C. R. (2018). Approaching Inclusion as Social Practice: Processes of Inclusion and Exclusion: Processes of Inclusion and Exclusion. Journal of Educational and Social Research, Vol 8(No 2), 9–19. Read here

    Molbæk, M., & Müller, K. R. (2019). Triangulation with video observation when studying teachers’ practice. Qualitative Research Journal, 20(1), 152-162. https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-07-2019-0053
    Janne Hedegaard Hansen, Suzanne Carrington, Charlotte Riis Jensen, Mette Molbæk & Maria Christina Secher Schmidt (2020) The collaborative practice of inclusion and exclusion, Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 6:1, 47-57, DOI: 10.1080/20020317.2020.1730112

    Janne Hedegaard Hansen, Charlotte Riis Jensen, Mette Molbæk & Maria Christina Secher Schmidt (2021) Cross-professional collaboration and inclusive school development in Denmark, International Journal of Inclusive Education, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2021.1965800

    Jensen, C. R., Molbæk, M., Hansen, J. H., & Schmidt, M. C. S. (2022). Developing Inclusive Learning Environments – When Collaboration Is (Not) the Answer. I H. Harju-Luukkainen, N. B. Hanssen, & C. Sundqvist (red.), Special Education in the Early Years - Perspectives on Policy and Practice in the Nordic Countries (s. 103-117). Springer. International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development Bind 36. Read here

    Skibsted, E. (2020): A lifeworld approach to the pupils’ general development in school. In: Nordic Psychology. 72, 4, s. 292-312.

    Skibsted, E., Jensen, E.S. & Christensen, M.V. (2015): Educating teachers focusing on the development of reflective and relational competences In: Educational Research for Policy and Practice. 14, 3, s. 201-212 12 s.

    Grindheim, L.T., Sørensen, H. V. & Rekers, A. 2021. Outdoor and Nature in Pedagogical Practices and in Cultural-Historical Theory. In L. T. Grindheim; H. V. Sørensen & A. Rekers (eds). Outdoor Learning and Play. Springer Open Access. 

    Fleer, M., Hedegaard, M., Ødegaard, E. E. & Sørensen, H. V. 2021. Cultures of Play and Learning in Transition. (p.1-16) in M. Fleer, M. Hedegaard, E. E. Ødegaard & H.V. Sørensen (eds). Qualitative Studies of Exploration in Childhood Education. Bloomsbury. 

    Birkeland, Å., Sørensen, H. V.& He, M. 2021. Micro-Transitions in Outdoor Playtime in Kindergarten: Conditions for Children’s Exploration and Cultural Formation. (p. 197-217) in M. Fleer, M. Hedegaard, E. E. Ødegaard & H.V. Sørensen (eds). Qualitative Studies of Exploration in Childhood Education. Bloomsbury. 

    Birkeland, Å. & Sørensen, H. V. 2021. Children’s outdoor play activities in kindergartens in China and in Norway. In L. T. Grindheim, H. V. Sørensen & A. Rekers (eds.) Outdoor Learning and Play: Pedagogical Practice and Children’s Cultural Formation. Springer

    Sørensen, H. V. 2021. Children’s play activities and social relations in nature and kindergarten playground. In L. T. Grindheim, H. V. Sørensen & A. Rekers (eds.) Outdoor Learning and Play: Pedagogical Practice and Children’s Cultural Formation. Springer. 

    Sørensen, H. V. 2019. Studying Children’s friendship activities ethically using the Interaction-Based Observation Method. In A. Edwards; M. Fleer & L. Bøttcher. Cultural-Historical Approaches to Studying Learning. Springer. 

    Sørensen, H. V. 2014. Ethics in researching young children’s play in preschool. Chapter 11 in: M. Fleer & A. Ridgway (eds.) Visual methodologies and tools for researching with young children. Springer. 


  • Anette Boye Koch

  • Anette Boye Koch, Head of Programme, Senior Associate Professor, PhD
  • T: +45 87 55 35 09
  • Expertise: Child Well-being, ECEC, Children’s perspectives
UC Viden profile
  • Mette Molbæk

  • Head of Programme, Senior Associate Professor, PhD
  • T: +45 87 55 32 20
  • Expertise: Inclusive education, collaboration
UC Viden profile
  • Anne Mette Buus

  • Associate Professor
  • T: +45 87 55 37 20
  • Expertise: Early childhood care and education, children’s perspectives
UC Viden profile
  • Merete Munkholm

  • Senior Lecturer, Ph.D
  • T: +45 26 71 05 40
  • Expertise: Pedagogical Psychology, Special Education, Inclusion, School Life, Well-being, Teacher Education
UC Viden profile
Else Skibsted
  • Else Skibsted

  • Senior lecturer, PhD
  • T: +45 22 53 02 97
  • Expertise: Pedagogical psychology, special education, teacher education, inclusion
UC Viden profile
Hanne Værum
  • Hanne Værum Sørensen

  • Associate Professor, PhD
  • T: +45 60 11 07 44
  • Expertise: outdoor pedagogy, sustainability, young children’s development and well-being
UC Viden profile
Anne Sønborg
  • Anne Søndberg

  • Associate professor
  • T: +45 87 55 31 00
  • Expertise: Inclusion, well-being in school
UC Viden profile
  • Hanne Hede Jørgensen

  • Associate professor, PhD
  • T: +45 87 55 35 35
  • Expertise: Play, Children’s perspectives, Pedagogy in ECEC & Schools
UC Viden profile
  • Lise Jönsson Koumaditis

  • Associate Professor, PhD
  • T: +45 87 55 17 21
  • Expertise: Ethnographic methods, childhood, day care
UC Viden profile
Lise Berg
  • Line Berg

  • Associate Professor, Master of Law
  • T: +45 28 34 60 63
  • Expertise: Social work practice, Child welfare, Children’s Rights, Parents Rights
UC Viden profile
  • Susanne Klit Sørensen

  • Associate Professor
  • T: +45 87 55 23 42
  • Expertise: Health visiting, smal children’s development, transition from home to day care/nursery
UC Viden profile
Erik Hygum
  • Erik Hygum

  • Executive senior advisor, Ph.D
  • T: +45 87 55 35 25
  • Expertise: children’s (0-3) transitions and agency
UC Viden profile
Lotte Junker
  • Lotte Junker Harbo

  • Researcher and associate professor
  • T: +45 87 55 19 33
  • Expertise: social pedagogy, sociology, social exclusion, well-being as theoretical and empirical concept.
UC Viden profile
Birgitte Madsen
  • Birgitte Theilmann

  • Associate Professor
  • T: +45 20 70 22 55
  • Expertise: Social vulnerability, sustainability in education
UC Viden profile
Anton Sand Jørgensen
  • Anthon Sand Jørgensen

  • Ph.D., Lecturer in Social Work
  • T: +45 87 55 37 74
  • Expertise: Disability studies, social work- and social pedagogical research
UC Viden profile