Monday, August 18, 2008

Starting School in Sweden
The Big girl on the Big Day..... The Big School (with Steiner inspired architechture and old swedish houses)The Big Church that the school shares a parking lot with School
The Big Windmill on the Hill near school
We chose a Waldorf school for the Swedegirl, the Rudolph Steiner Skola in Hardeberga. We like the intentional gentleness and the spiritually inspired approach to childhood at Waldorf schools. We also love that they serve vegetarian meals made from food bought at the the local organic farm (no weird nitrates or food coloring here!). This school runs from preschool to high school. Our girl is in the age 18 months to 4 year group with three teachers and a total of eight children. Next year she will go to the 4-7 group, then could move on to the primary school and high school. This school is part of the regular Swedish school system, so she can attend at no extra cost to us. In the States, Waldorf school would easily cost us thousands of dollars a year.
Swedish preschool is called 'Dagis', and is available to all parents at a no or very minimal charge based on your income. The number of hours you can use a week depends on your situation. I am a student and my husband works, so she can go to the school any hours we choose between 8-4pm. They serve an oatmeal breakfast, two snacks, and lunch. After I stop going to school, I will have the baby be officially registers with the Swedish system as being home on maternity (so they can send me money for it!), and we will be limited to 25 hours of school a week. The amount of time children are allowed in dagis when there is an at- home parent depends on which county/ kommun you live in. Some only offer 15 hours, others like ours, offer 25.
Dagis starts with a period called "inskoling" where the mother stays with the child though the adjustment period. My girl has been in a waldorf inspired home daycare for sometime in Florida, so when I came along for inskoling it made the adjustment time harder for her. It was great for me to observe the school, and to get a feel for the teacher and how things flow. However, she was confused when I stopped coming. It would have been easier if it was clear school is her place, not a place I go to as well.

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