About the Danish Centre of Educational Environment, DCUM
DCUM is a government institution within the public administration. DCUM falls under the Ministry of Education. The Minister of Education lays down the statutes of the centre and appoints the chairman of the board and the other board members. The centre carries out its activities independently of the Minister, but the centre's board answers to the Minister of Education with respect to the centre's operations, including the financial management.
The Danish Centre of Educational Environment, DCUM, is thus an independent, national centre that works to ensure a good educational environment at all educational institutions and a good environment for children in all day-care facilities. The centre supports a holistic effort with user participation.
Well-being and participation are key areas for DCUM's work. We regard well-being as fundamental for good children's environments and educational environments. It is also important to listen to how the ones that it is all about – the children, pupils and students – think their everyday lives can be improved. Their voice is extremely important in the work for well-being, health, development and learning for all.
Children's Perspective on Daily Life
DCUM is working to make day-care facilities include children's perspective on the children's environment that influences their everyday lives. The centre offers knowledge, tools and methods that support a process in each day-care facility that ensures a good physical, psychological and aesthetic environment for children to promote well-being, health, development and learning.
Pupils and Students Should be Heard
In the areas of schools and education, DCUM is working to make schools and educational institutions involve the pupils and students in the effort to improve the quality of the educational environment. DCUM guides and develops tools and methods to help schools and educational institutions with the assessment of the educational environment. The assessment of the educational environment is a development-oriented survey of the psychological, physical and aesthetic environment. It is compulsory to involve pupils and students in the assessment of the educational environment.
DCUM highlights the overall quality of the children’s environment and the educational environment. One of the ways we do this is by asking those who know most about everyday life in the day-care facilities, schools and educational institutions: the children, pupils and students. In this way we continually learn more about what is good and what can be improved. DCUM conducts both qualitative and quantitative studies on various relevant topics, and this is one of the reasons why DCUM can often contribute with knowledge about the users' experiences of current issues in debates in both the professional media and the daily press.
Another task for DCUM is to highlight taboo subjects or overlooked elements that are essential for the children’s environment or the educational environment.
DCUM involves relevant users in the development of materials and communicates the experiences of day-care facilities, schools and educational institutions. This could be in the form of good examples. Via its dialogue with the practitioners, DCUM continues to find new issues that need to be uncovered, highlighted, updated or further developed in terms of methods.
Maintaining and developing good educational and children's environments requires a holistic effort that involves physical, psychological and aesthetic factors affecting the overall environment. This includes the contexts and influences that combine to create the experience of everyday life. DCUM calls for a holistic view of the children’s and educational environments through manuals, tools, professional articles, publications, etc.
Everybody can seek DCUM’s advice on questions regarding children’s and educational environment. DCUM’s staff offers advice and consultation to children, pupils, students, parents, the authorities and employees in day-care facilities, schools and educational institutions.
DCUM participates in networks and operates its own networks to gather and share knowledge and inspiration. DCUM's networks strengthen the working relationships with qualified stakeholders in central positions in at least one of DCUM's areas: children's environment and educational environment. DCUM's network relations are academically qualified and serious. They are closely related to one of DCUM's core tasks.
The 15 Member Board
The DCUM board is responsible for the overall management of the centre and determines its activities. The board is composed of 15 members representing stakeholders from the day-care, school and the education system in Denmark.
DCUM is an independent, national centre, established in April 2002 following the adoption of the Educational Environment Act. When the Children’s Environment Act was adopted in June 2006, DCUM expanded its area of competence to include children’s environment as well. The Children's Environment Act was written into the Daycare Act in August 2007.
The Centre is not a mouthpiece for any organisation, interest group or individual, but can act independently of the special interests of external parties.