4 November 2020

New Pedagogical Tool for Promoting Mental Health Among Young Children


Associate Professor Mette Skovgaard Væver from the Department of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen has received DKK 6 million in funding from the Independent Research Fund Denmark for the Copenhagen Daycare Project.

Mette Skovgaard Væver

The ability to regulate one’s behaviour and negative emotions in social relations is vital to our mental well-being in a life-long perspective. We develop this ability early in life, and it very much depends on our relations to caregivers, our parents in particular. But seeing as nearly all Danish children aged 0-3 years are in day care, pedagogues also constitute key caregivers in the child’s mental development.

Pedagogues’ Key Role in the Child’s Development

Within the framework of the Copenhagen Daycare Project, Associate Professor Mette Skovgaard Væver strives to strengthen children’s mental health and pedagogues’ interaction with the children.

‘Young children develop in and with their social relations. And here pedagogues play a very important role’, says Associate Professor Mette Skovgaard Væver, who is head of the Center for Early Intervention and Family Studies at the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen.

Testing Pedagogical Tools

She is therefore trying to identify measures for promoting interaction between pedagogues and children, and how this interaction strengthens the children’s social, emotional, linguistic and cognitive development. The research project thus focusses on pedagogues’ relational competences and ability to detect children who have difficulties regulating their emotions.

The project has two purposes:

  • To test whether the Dutch-based pedagogical programme Caregiver Interactive Profile can improve the quality of pedagogues’ interaction with children and, if so, how it promotes children’s social, emotional, linguistic and cognitive development. 200 pedagogues and 500 children participate in the project.
  • To test a newly developed detection method (Social Emotion Regulation Strategies, SERS) meant to enable pedagogues to detect and support children in need of more appropriate emotional and self-regulation strategies.

The Copenhagen Daycare Project: Enhancing the role of daycare providers in supporting young children´s social and emotional development is a national and international collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the City of Copenhagen, University College Copenhagen, the Erasmus University Rotterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.