The Copenhagen Daycare Project

The ability to deal with difficult feelings like anger and sadness, and how we express those feelings in social relationships is essential for mental health throughout life. Children start developing these abilities in the earliest years of life and they rely on the help they get from their adult caregivers, including parents and professional caregivers, to make sense of and respond to their feelings. With their caregivers’ support and guidance children also develop their understanding of the world and the objects within it as well as learn about themselves, language, social and motor skills. In Denmark, almost all 0-3-year-old children attend daycare centers, which is why daycare providers in Denmark play an extra important role in supporting children in coping with their feelings, learning about the world, and building positive relationships with their peers.

The Copenhagen Daycare project has two objectives:

  1. We test whether a Dutch training program (Caregiver Interactive Profile, CIP) is effective in promoting the quality of daycare providers’ interactions with the children in their care. The CIP training focuses on six specific interactive skills that we know are important for children’s development. We also test whether the training program has a positive impact on children's social, emotional and language development. The project will include 200 daycare providers and 500 children.

  2. We will test a new observational method (Social Emotion Regulation Strategies, SERS) that aims to upskill the daycare providers to detect and support those children who need extra help in relation to expressing and coping with their feelings and behavior.

The project is innovative because we test both the effect of the CIP training program in regards to the daycare provider’s interactions with the children and we examine the effects of the training program in relation to the children's development. More so we test the new observation method, SERS, for implementation in the pedagogical practice.


In The Copenhagen Daycare Project we evaluate the effect of the Caregiver Interaction Profile (CIP) training program.

In collaboration with the City of Copenhagen (Københavns Kommune) and Copenhagen University College (København Professionshøjskole), 200 daycare providers are trained with the CIP training program. The CIP training program aims to help daycare providers who work with children aged 0-3 years to improve their abilities to form healthy and stimulating relationships with children in daycare.

The CIP training program has been developed by the Dutch researcher Katrien Helmerhorst and colleagues and focuses on six interactive skills that are important for supporting children’s development. The six interactive skills are: sensitive responsiveness, respect for autonomy, structuring and limit setting, verbal communication, developmental stimulation and fostering positive peer interactions.

How it works in practice

The CIP training itself takes place over 4 training sessions, where 1-2 daycare providers together with a CIP trainer focus on the 6 skills. In CIP training, we use a video feedback method. This means that the daycare providers, together with the CIP trainer, looks at video recordings of their interactions with the children in the daycare center. The video recordings consist of four different situations: lunch/snack, free play, diapering, and a transition between group activities. In the training, the daycare providers and the CIP trainer have a dialogue and reflection about the daycare providers practice shown in the video recordings with focus on the six interaction skills.

You can read more about CIP here.


Within The Copenhagen Daycare Project, we develop and test a new observation method (Social Emotion Regulation Strategies, SERS). This tool aims to support daycare providers to identify and understand children who may need extra help with developing good strategies to cope with difficult emotions.

In Denmark, more than 90% of all 0-3-year-old children attend professional daycare, so daycare providers play an important role in supporting the children's socio-emotional development. Therefore, the way in which the children are able to seek and get comfort from their daycare providers is important for their development. Some children may not yet know quite how to express their difficult feelings, and they may show anger or withdraw instead of asking for help or comfort. This may put them in risk of less positive or comforting interactions with their caregivers in daycare. The aim of SERS is to help the daycare providers to identify the children whose strategies in relation to looking for help, comfort and care is not optimal so that the daycare providers can offer these children the (extra) socio-emotional support that they need.

Based on the CIP video recordings, made in the first part of the research project, we will observe the children's behavior in relation to their daycare providers during their daily activities. We are interested in the many different ways in which children express their emotions through their behavior, as well as how and when children approach an adult.

This part of the project will contribute to the development of SERS, which in the long term will support the daycare providers in understanding children's varying, social, and emotional behavior and identifying and supporting the children who need extra support.



Should you have any questions, please contact:

Clara Christensen Vieira
Research assistant, CIF
+45 35 32 39 56

Laura Rostgaard Maulhardt
Research assistant, CIF
+45 35 32 43 65

The project group

Mette Skovgaard Væver
Professor, CIF
Sophie Reijman
Assistant Professor, CIF
Vibe Larsen
Docent, KP

Tina Wahl Haase
Research assistant, CIF

Laura Rostgaard Maulhardt
Research assistant, CIF

Clara Christensen Vieira
Research assistant, CIF



About the project

Full title: The Copenhagen Daycare Project - Enhancing the role of daycare providers in supporting young children’s social and emotional development.

The research project runs from spring 2022 to spring 2026, and is a national and international collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the City of Copenhagen and University College of Copenhagen, Groningen University, NL and Vrije University, NL.

The project is funded by grants from the Independent Research Fund Denmark and TrygFonden.