The limitations of multiculturalism in Norwegian early childhood education


Publication date


Series/Report no

International Journal of Inclusive Education;18(11)


Taylor & Francis

Document type


In Norway, 9 out of 10 children between the ages of one and five participate in an educational formation programme which, despite around half of the kindergartens being privately owned, is regulated by a common law and relatively detailed regulations describing what the content of kindergartens should be. Norwegian kindergartens therefore represent a central institution for integration and transfer of values and morals in today’s multicultural Norwegian society. The relatively new situation of multicultural diversity is challenging earlier cultural hegemonies where Christian heritage and tradition combined with a strong social democratic movement were important components. The issue discussed in this paper is how this cultural diversity is dealt with in the early childhood education documents, with emphasis on understanding where the limits of multiculturalism are set. I argue, in dialogue with three standpoints of multiculturalism, that while Norwegian early childhood education embraces cultural diversity, it is unclear about the limits to its political implications



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