The Nightingale

The program Nightingale ("Nattergalen" in Norwegian) is about mentoring. It offers children with ethnic minority background aged 8-12 years a good role model for 8 months.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​The program Nightingale ("Nattergalen" in Norwegian) is about mentoring. It offers children with ethnic minority background aged 8-12 years a good role model (a mentor) for 8 months. The mentors are bachelor students who study child welfare or social work at Nord University.​

The general information

The nightingale's primary goal is twofold:

  1. ​To strengthen cultural sensitivity and multicultural competence in child welfare services through giving students better knowledge of and competence in working with children with a minority background and their family.
  2. To contribute to children with a minority background gaining better skills in Norwegian language, increased school motivation, strengthened self-esteem and more mastery experiences. The long-term goal is to contribute to more children with a minority background complete upper secondary education and have the opportunity to take higher education (universities/colleges).

The Nightingale is part of an international program, and was started in Israel as early as in 1972. In Europe, the program was started at Malmö University in 1997. Today, 25 institutions, from 6 countries (Norway, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Switzerland and Iceland) are participating. Since 1972, several thousand children and mentors have participated in Nightingale. Some of the mentors today  even had mentors when they were children. In Norway, the mentoring program has been carried on every year since 2006.

The Nightingale is administrated and funded by the Directorate for Children, Youth and Families (Bufdir).

Nord University has been part of Nightingale since 2008

Nord University is one of the eight universities/colleges in Norway participating in Nightingale. Bodø is the northernmost city in Europe that offers the mentoring program.

More information

To know more about Nightingale, and to learn about the experiences of the children and mentors, you can watch the film on YouTube and read the reports about Nightingale at Nord University: 

>> Startet i praksis allerede første året​ ( - Norwegian)

​Malmö University has also released several YouTube videos about the Nightingale program, which provides an insight into the relationships between mentor and mentor children:​

>> Video "Mentor Mentee" (

Information for students/mentors

At Nord University, Nightingale is included as a teaching project in one of the two compulsory courses on field placements for students taking a bachelor's degree in child welfare or a bachelor's degree in social work. The course is called PRA1025 ​Mentorship in a multicul​tural context​, with 5 credits, and serves as an introductory course to practice in the first year of study. 

The practice period for PRA1025 lasts from October to May, the next year. As a general rule, mentor and the child meet approx. two to three hours each week for a minimum of 20 weeks. They decide themselves what they want to do, and are expected to explore the possibilities that come up when being together. The Nightingale provides opportunities for mutual joy, inspiration and learning for both children and mentors.

The students who participate in the Nightingale will supplement the practice with lectures, seminars, individual supervision and written assignments that focus on reflections. In addition, students must submit a final exam paper that is assessed as passed / failed. Throughout the practice period, students will be followed up by a teacher at Nord University.

Information for parents and partner schools​​

The purpose of the Nightingale program is to let a child meet an adult student (a mentor) with whom they can find new and pleasant activities together. The child will gain an insight into the mentor's everyday life at the university, and receive training in developing their language and social skills. It is also a goal to strengthen the child’s self-esteem and to inspire them to invest in school and education for their future. Through regular meetings with a child, the students who are mentors will learn how to build relationships with a child, and how to work with the child and their families. This will contribute to increased participation and improve the mentors’ cultural understanding.​

How to get a mentor?
To get a mentor through Nightingale, your child must be between 8 and 12 years old, and the child's school already has a collaboration with Nightingale/Nord University. If you want your child to have a mentor, please contact the contact person at the child's school.

List of partner schools and the contact persons:

Østbyen School:
Monika Ellingsen / Phone: 75 55 76 00

Hunstad School:
Elin S Heggelund Valøy / Phone: 75 55 65 31

Rønvik School:
Elin Johanne Iversen / Phone: 75 55 68 62

Løpsmarka School:
Linda Henningsen / Phone: 920 51 781 or 75 55 69 02

Mørkvedmarka School:
Sølvi Kristiansen

What can my child get by participating in Nightingale:
A professional and positive role model, support and a friend.
Access to joint events organized by Nightingale, together with their mentors.
Meetings with activities to look forward to every week.

To Explore the opportunities for activities that exist around the local communities and Bodø city together with a mentor, and get confident in social participating.

The opportunity to have some insight about what it is like to be a university student in Norway, including visiting the university, and learn about the students' school life.

How do we choose a mentor for your child?
The students who are to be mentors send us information forms, references and a police certificate of conduct. This information will be checked and the students will be interviewed. Before the child and the mentor meet, the mentors will also participate in several lectures to learn about being a mentor.

We match the mentor and the child based on the information we collect in the registration forms and the interview. The purpose is to ensure a safe and good atmosphere so that the children and mentors can get on well with each other.

A joint ‘kick-off’ or get-to-know-you gathering will be arranged at Nord University one evening in October, where the participated children and mentors meet for the first time. The children's families are also invited. The first meeting after this start-up gathering will usually take place at the child's home. The parents, child and the mentor will then have a good opportunity to get to know each other better.

What happens next is up to you to find out jointly between the parents, the child and the mentor. The idea is that the mentor and the child shall take part in activities that are fun and exciting. It should mostly be everyday activities with low costs, such as playing games, chatting, going for a walk, cooking, going to the cinema, theatre, etc. The nightingale also organizes joint activities, such as sports, trips, excursions, competitions etc.

(We will follow the national and local rules concerning Corona-pandemics in planning and organizing joint activities.)

What can I expect as the parent? 
As parent, you can make an agreement with the mentor, and have an overview of where and when the mentor and your child are to meet and what kind of activities they have planned. The parents must notify the mentor if the child is ill or unable to attend for other reasons.

The relationship between the mentor and the child is personal.  The mentor should not be used as a mentor for other children in the family. There is a clear framework around how much time the mentor and your child shall spend together. Generally speaking, the mentor shall spend 2-3 hours per week, excluding holidays.

All parents shall fill out and sign the consent form, which is a formal declaration of participation in the Nightingale. This shall be done either before or at the kick-off gathering. The mentors shall also sign an agreement to participate in the Nightingale.

Frequently asked questions

  • ​Does it cost anything to join?
    The nightingale is free. All children and mentors are insured when participating activities within the program of Nightingale.

  • Who pays for the activities?
    Most of the activities are cost-free. But the parents pay for their child when the child and mentor do something that costs money (like cinema tickets, bus tickets etc. which will not be expensive). Parents only pay for their child, and the child's mentor pays for himself/herself. It is possible for parents to get some support when there are special needs.

  • Who decides what the child and mentor do together?
    It is decided by the child, the parents and the mentor jointly.

  • Who do I contact if something happens?
    Contact the school's contact person, or the coordinator at Nord University, Yan Zhao, / 75517438.


 Contact person