When I grow up...

Department: Clinical, Neuro- & Developmental Psychology
Section: Clinical Developmental Psychology
Research area/-theme: jonge kinderen,  sociale & schoolse ontwikkeling, gedrag

Researchers: Stephanie Dankfort, Susanne Koot, Dominique Maciejewski, Anna van der Meulen, Amber de Wilde
Supervisors: Hans Koot, Pol van Lier
In collaboration with: nationwide elementary schools
Grant: ZonMw



A lot changes in children's lives during the first years of primary school. They are thrust into a group of other children with whom they can form friendships, they are assigned a teacher and they must learn to deal with the structure and rules of the classroom. For many children, this comes naturally. They make friends along the way and learn what you can and can't do at school. However, some children have difficulty making friends and some are even bullied. Other children find it hard to follow the structure of the classroom and are viewed by the teacher as rebellious or problematic. Problems such as these can negatively affect the school learning process.

The ‘Als ik later groot ben’ (When I Grow Up) project investigates the behavioural, social and educational development of young children. 1,200 children have been monitored by this study since 2011. At the time, the children were in their first, second or third year of primary school. Meanwhile, they have already attended a number of data-collection sessions. Their parents and teachers also take part in the sessions.

Timely intervention and effective guidance can help minimise the risk of arrested development. However, it is important that only children who are at risk of these developmental problems are identified as such. At the moment, there is no effective instrument that can identify at-risk children at an early stage. By gathering data on a large group of children, information can be obtained about why some children are developing well and why others are having difficulty. This information is necessary to enable early indication and effective assistance in the future.

  • View more project information at the section Clinical Developmental Psychology