I am completing a doctoral project at the National Knowledge Center for Kindergartens, where I am employed as an Industrial PhD student. I started up in December 2017. I am a part of what has been Norway’s largest research project within Early Childhood Education and Care, Better Provision for Norway`s Children (BePro or GoBaN in Norwegian). In collaboration with GoBaN, I have developed a project within the topic Norwegian ECEC practice with play materials. Employed in a company, I get the opportunity to gain research expertise and research experience that I can bring back into the company. This feels like a unique opportunity to be close to practice and research at the same time. One of the main goals as an Industrial PhD student, is to be able to bring research-based knowledge back to the ECEC sector.
In the doctoral project, I focus on the physical play and learning environment of ECEC. Here I examine what pedagogical intentions, ideologies or awareness that lies behind the choices made with play materials in Norwegian ECEC. Key issues are the selection and availability of play materials regarding children’s play, learning and development. Teachers’ beliefs and practices are essential. In the project, I combine quantitative data from GoBaN with my qualitative data collection, which includes both observations and interviews. Time in NAFOL has given me many new acquaintances, and a good professional and social network. With financial support from NAFOL, I presented my project at two international conferences in Budapest and Thessaloniki. In NAFOL, I get good practice in disseminating research, with tasks and challenges that lead me forward in the doctoral process. PhD life can be demanding, and it’s great to be part of a supportive community.