1.1 Children in kindergarten

In Norway 90.4 per cent of children in the age group 1–5 years attend kindergarten – a high number in an international perspective. A total of 283,600 children are enrolled in kindergarten.

The enrolment rate for children varies from 66 to 100 per cent across municipalities.

Table 1.1 Children enrolled in kindergarten. 2015. Per cent and numbers.

Age Enrolment rate Number of children
0 year 3,7 2 201
1 year 69,7 41 895
2 years 91,5 55 363
3 years 95,7 59 775
4 years 96,6 61 036
5 years 97,3 62 972
6 years 366
1-5 years 90,4 281 041
1-2 years 80,7 97 258
3-5 years 96,5 183 783
0-6 years 283 608

Source: Directorate for Education and Training

Figure 1.1 Enrolment rate of children 1-5 years. 2004-2015. Per cent.


Source: Directorate for Education and Training/Statistics Norway

Kindergarten enrolment in 1990

In 1990, 36 per cent of children below compulsory school age attended kindergarten. Among 1 and 2-year-olds the figure was 15 per cent (Gulbrandsen 2007). A total of 135,000 children were enrolled in kindergarten in 1990 – less than half the 2015 figure.

8 out of 10 minority language children attend kindergarten

There were 43,450 minority language children enrolled in kindergarten in 2015. This is 2,200 more than in 2014 – an increase of 5 per cent. This increase follows a rise in the number of minority language children in the general population, and applies for all age groups. The enrolment rate has remained relatively stable since 2014 (Figure 1.2).

Minority language children

Children are defined as minority language children when both the child and its parents/guardians have a mother tongue other than Norwegian, Sami, Swedish, Danish or English.

Figure 1.2 Enrolment rate of minority language children. 2011-2015. Per cent.


Source: Directorate for Education and Training/Statistics Norway


Translation and brief information about some specific Norwegian terms:

Kindergarten (barnehage):
A direct translation of the German word Kindergarten (Barn = Kinder, hage = garten). A common term for different types of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) under the provisions of the Norwegian Kindergarten Act, covering the age group 0–5 years.

Family kindergarten (familiebarnehage):
Family kindergarten/family day care, where assistants work in private homes with up to five children below school age, supervised and mentored by a qualified kindergarten teacher.

Open kindergarten (åpen barnehage):
Open kindergarten is a part-time drop-in centre for parents/care givers and children, led by a qualified kindergarten teacher. Parents/caregivers stay with their child and participate in the programme together with the child.

Kindergarten teacher (barnehagelærer):
Kindergarten teacher, formerly called pre-school teacher (førskolelærer). Teachers working at pre-primary level with a tertiary bachelor’s degree from university/university college.

Pedagogical leader (pedagogisk leder):
Pedagogical leader, a qualified kindergarten teacher with responsibility for a group of children in a kindergarten. The pedagogical leader works in a team with a group of children together with auxiliary staff (assistants/teacher aids) and in some cases additional pedagogical leaders.

Head teacher/Manager (styrer):
Head teacher/Manager. A qualified kindergarten teacher who is responsible for the day-to-day management of a kindergarten.