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Sweden - Early Years

Part of the series How Do They Do It In...?

  Screen capture from Sweden - Early Years

Summary

This comparative-CPD video for Early Years providers reveals Sweden's approach to nursery education, their secret to success and the factors that combine to help Swedish children perform so well in European literacy tables.

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Sweden's attitude to teaching nursery children seems incredibly relaxed and informal. There's little structured learning, play is paramount, there are few locks or security-coded gates and children are encouraged to help with cleaning and catering.

Most Swedish children who leave pre-school at six can't read or write. Yet within three years of starting formal schooling at the age of seven, these children lead the literacy tables in Europe.

This video travels to Motala to discover just how they achieve such stunning results, and asks whether the absence of testing, inspection and excessive paperwork, combined with a strong emphasis on play and relaxation, could be the secret to their success...

 
 

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Extra materials (2)

Speadsheet demonstrating a typical weekly series of lessons in Sweden

Supporting information provided by the educational consultant for this programme

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Comments (46)

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    • stephen ball stephen ball

      (Associate)

      What an inspiring programme On
      28 July 2010 - 22:17

      What an inspiring programme. On a positive note, I would like to say that there are some fantastic Early Years centres in the UK that operate in as similar a way as is possible considering the restrictions of budgets, staff ratios, UK curriculum (many are in the voluntary sector btw). What struck me most is the way in which swedish teachers are trusted to get on with the job. I think this is a a massive problem in the UK where EY teachers are having to act in a way that is so contrary to their own beliefs and understanding of how young children learn. The issue will never be resolved until we get rid of our assessment/testing obsessed education system(right up to KS3!) stephe ball

    • stephen ball stephen ball

      (Associate)

      hi
      25 July 2010 - 19:44

      Having had a relative who has just completed her training as a pre-school assistant, I'd say it's pretty similar to the UK - maybe more theoretical in parts, but equally demanding and with tons of practical experience.

      In Sweden they focus a lot on theory. Good theories can lead to good practices but if a theory's wrong, the practices that flow from it will never be good.

      There are a multitude of theories influencing Swedish education. By nature, Swedes spend a lot of time discussing things before implementing them. It can be frustrating, but it leads to good decisions.

    • It's all about the code
      26 April 2010 - 18:16

      Your article poses the question, "Could the absence of testing, inspection and excessive paperwork, combined with a strong emphasis on play and relaxation, be the very secret of their success?"
      Yes - it could be; but I think we need to remember a simpler reason. The swedish alphabetic code is transparent, similar to the spanish code, where roughly each sound in the language is represented by one letter. This means that children learn to read and write much quicker than in England, where the code is notoriously not transparent ie. multiple letter patterns for each sound and a range of sounds for each grapheme. Children in Sweden can therefore afford to wait until they begin more 'formal' instruction.
      I would be interested to see if the early gains after three years in Sweden are maintained. On the wider issue, however, I think their more relaxed approach is something we could do with adopting here, but again, Scandinavian countries have a history of high parental support and engagment in the education process, which doesn't always come easy in the UK...

    • A new way of thinking
      11 March 2010 - 19:39

      We are a British family living in Sweden with a 6 and 3 year old. Our eyes have been opened! Both parents learned to read early and come from academic UK families, and the idea of waiting until 7 for formal schooling was very uncomfortable. However, we are delighted that our children have had the chance to experience the Swedish system for the past 3 years. They play outside for 2-4 hours every day, whatever the weather (unless it is less than minus 10!) They have learned to delight in the outdoors, have had wonderful exposure to informal learning about nature, and have experience the fantatstically balanced Swedish attitude to Health and Safety. Trips off-site happen daily without fuss. Our 3 year old goes weekly on a public bus to the local library, and weekly trips to local parks and the forest are routine without the need for extra staff. OK, maybe the start of formal learning is perhaps a little too late, but what fantatstic advantages in all other respects.

    • Swidish education
      6 May 2009 - 19:59

      I was brought up in Italy and now I am a teacher in England. The first years I was here, I was very impressed with how much children were asked to do at the age of five. Then I saw my children grow up here in England and I have seen that the expectations are so low as they grow up and that's why they can't keep up with other countries. What is all this rush to get children to write, and creatively, at 5 or 6 and then lower the expectations? I have many children in my class who never practise their reading or spelling patterns and the positive praise of the children who do that does not work as a stimulus for these lazy children.If in Italy you don't achieve a certain standard you simply don't move up a class! First you learn how to play cooperatively, to role-play stories, to take turns speaking, to manipulate materials and THEN to write and read, when you are a little older (at 6). My parents were not pushing me to study but it was not even in my dreams not to do my homework (and I mean tonnes of homework!!) and they were expecting me to always do my very best. We had to study to be able to repeat to the whole class (every week!) history or Geography or any other subject. We had lots of dictations to practise just how to spell correctly and then we were writing creatively. When we were studying Physics or Maths we were learning lots of formulas and had to be able to explain them. Not many hands-on activities, but a lot of academic work in depth, research, lots of essays and oral and written tests (plenty more than here), but when you got a good mark you knew you really had worked for it. My son in a VERY reputable Grammar School is given a sheet with the formulas so he doesn't need to make the effort to study them. What a waste of their bright brain! We never looked at the old papers in tests, we needed to know things not for the tests, but as life long skills. Why did they bother to select the children with many tests to enter a grammar school and then, once they have the brightest brains (?)they don't challenge them? In Italy you go to a grammar school if you are a person who will study, and if not you will repeat a year or move to a different school if you can't keep up with the standards. Unless you want to spend your life in school, this is quite a deterrent and children learn to work so that they can move up with their peers and not stay behind in a younger class. Teachers have much less paperwork to do and they can concentrate on teaching. Children don't ask "what will the test be about?" they just practise and study to understand and be able to present their work to an audience.

    • It is evident that children
      19 November 2008 - 04:33

      It is evident that children learn more at this age through play. Whats more attractive in the video is the location. Schools in Urban areas will have to keep in mind the challenges it brings and so would a Rural one.

      What matters the most is the child who is experiencing the varied opportunities of play both indoors or outdoors, with a definite curriculum or without.

      We follow the British Curriculum which demands alot of attention and time of not only the teacher but the child as well. It gives a detailed picture of what the child is capable of with a wider scenario of the challenges a child can take in this age.

      I'm the Head of Teaching Assistants in an urban school in the Mid-East and am very well aware of the diversity of social and personal behaviors of children and staff. Sometimes its very challenging to maintain the balance but what keeps me rooted in the same standard of education is the response we get from each parent, which is not only supportive but also reassuring that we are doing well in whatever we do.

      Every child is different and so is every method of teaching and understanding. Its detailed, descriptive and meets the requirements of the child.

      I do not completely support the idea of embedding specific dogmas for achieving a particular result but at the end its always about letting the 3-5 year old have fun than keeping them glued to a worksheet that might not be as interesting.

      The video was an excellent reminder to let go of the child in his\her own path of discovery and achievement.

    • happy children, happy me
      19 November 2008 - 04:23

      It is evident that children learn more at this age through play. Whats more attractive in the video is the location. Schools in Urban areas will have to keep in mind the challenges it brings and so would a Rural one.

      What matters the most is the child who is experiencing the varied opportunities of play both indoors or outdoors, with a definite curriculum or without.

      We follow the British Curriculum which demands alot of attention and time of not only the teacher but the child as well. It gives a detailed picture of what the child is capable of with a wider scenario of the challenges a child can take in this age.

      I'm the Head of Teaching Assistants in an urban school in the Mid-East and am very well aware of the diversity of social and personal behaviors of children and staff. Sometimes its very challenging to maintain the balance but what keeps me rooted in the same standard of education is the response we get from each parent, which is not only supportive but also reassuring that we are doing well in whatever we do.

      Every child is different and so is every method of teaching and understanding. Its detailed, descriptive and meets the requirements of the child.

      I do not completely support the idea of embedding specific dogmas for achieving a particular result but at the end its always about letting the 3-5 year old have fun than keeping them glued to a worksheet that might not be as interesting.

      The video was an excellent reminder to let go of the child in his\her own path of discovery and achievement.

    • Sweden - an inspiration
      1 November 2008 - 17:43

      In my previous life, before I became a mature student teacher, I have experienced Early Years Education both as a parent of three and as a Key-worker in Pre-school. I have seen how UK Governments have interfered with what was once, an environment of 'learning through play' for the under fives and now has become the provider of the regimented CGFS!

      I found the Swedish video truly inspiring, which ultimately leaves me feeling utterly depressed as I am being taught to teach the policies and structure of implementing the new EYFS and the ways in which such young children need to be assessed.

      How I long to see the implementation of a system such as that in Sweden. It seems to me that just changing our early years education, could not work without the complete change in the approach to the care and education in the UK Education system. Of course, such a change would not be done without the complete support of the parents and carers. After so many years of constant assessments and testing, has our society been brainwashed into thinking this is the only way!

    • oh dear, i am so in awe of
      5 May 2008 - 20:58

      oh dear, i am so in awe of how they do it in sweden it has made me feel quite nostalgic and long for the days of my youth in the 70's and 80's where you could have a childhood in the uk, which is similar to theirs. for my own two young children i wish it were so and for the future generations of all our children. hbjts words were so beautiful and genuine, i wish Ed balls and co could hear your views. As a mature soon to be (hopefully)graduate in educational studies with early childhood, i do not know what the future holds or where i will go into the profession as my dreams would be for a utopia for children (and the world in general if i am honest there seems to be too much darkness and negativity through the news, media, tv, so called drama, soaps etc. its no wonder our children are the most unhappy in europe from UNICEF's research report. Well done to the makers of this programme for showing us there is another way, can you send it to the uk government please? love and blessings to you all who strive for our children xxx

    • How Do They Do It In Sweden?
      19 April 2008 - 17:13

      Sweden is a real country, not a utopia. So much chatter about Sweden doing things right overlooks inherent weaknesses. May I add a dissenting voice to this hyperbole? Firstly I should say that Im an Englishman living in Stockholm.

      The first question that arises from this programme should be how representative is this pre-school? If a film had been made about a nursery school in, for random example, Ely in Cambridgeshire, people would immediately and rightly say hold on, what about schools in inner city areas; there are huge differences between rural and urban and differences within urban areas themselves. But is this issue addressed when talking about Sweden? No, because Sweden is so often perceived as a homogenous country and it is these very people that want such a model for Britain. I live in Huddinge, a municipality that has problems with funding and providing adequate pre-schools. Huddinge has a large immigrant community, whereas a more ethnically homogenous municipality has better conditions in terms of funding pre-school facilities.

      Sweden has specific cultural and historical circumstances that Britain cannot replicate.

      Culturally, Sweden has a commitment to fairness. This is often related to notions of equality which indicates why there is growing resentment in Swedish society. Equality does not mean that I have the same as my neighbour, but I treat my neighbours not as a means to an end, but as ends in themselves. You know the golden rule of equality, do as you would be done by and love thy neighbour as thyself In Sweden however, equality is linked to fairness and is encompassed in the Swedish word lagom, meaning enough. Well its more than a word, in fact its no exaggeration to say that the entire culture is based upon lagom r bst (enough is as good as a feast). The word originates from Viking times when the just right amount of mead was the amount that filled the Viking helmet, so as not to have too much food and drink at a feast, of fervent moderation, of not having more than ones neighbour, of not putting oneself forward and standing out. Go to Sweden and live by the motto everything in moderation and you wont go far wrong. Can you see what is wrong with this? Perhaps Sven wants to follow the road of excess to see if it really does lead to the palace of wisdom. Or maybe Maria wants to find out what the limits of the extremes are to know what moderation really is. The consequence of Swedens commitment to just rightness is detrimental to the freedom of the people as this impersonal authority rewards conformity and punishes individuality by exclusion. Would you want this for your country?

      As for the complex historical circumstances I can start by saying that Sweden has not been involved in a war for exactly two hundred years. I suppose if Britain had stayed out of a few wars, then maybe conditions would be better. Also that Swedens social welfare system was established during the era of total war, of total economic recession and totalitarianism. It is pertinent to add that whenever totalitarian states want to reform, they invariably look to Sweden as a model: Dubceks 1968 reform socialism with a human face, Gorbachevs reforms of 1986, and the Czech & Slovak 1989 gentle revolution. Why would former communists be attracted by the Swedish system? Well force and violence is unsustainable and so they require a system that works on peace, prosperity and gentle persuasion. All very well, but it overlooks a fundamental contradiction of the Swedish model. The teacher in the programme spoke of Swedish peoples faith in the system and there are comments that support having faith in the system. But should the system serve the people or the people serve the system? This dialectic is at the heart of the Swedish model that was established to protect the little people from the ravages of global capitalism. However, eight decades later the state is still protecting the little man and the little woman and anyone who has read Reichs Listen Little Man will be aware of the crippling affect this has on self-development and human relatedness. Any development of society should be the free development between people and between humanity and nature which the state simply cannot regulate. The happy little children in the featured pre-school will grow up to be the little people who have faith in the system to look after them. This begs the question, is this faith in the system well placed? Sweden no longer has the once monolithic Social Democratic Party in power and nowadays they are akin to Blairs New Labour whereby the differences between conservatives (called Moderates in Sweden, of course!) and labour are blurred to the indistinguishable, especially in their commitment to neo-liberalism.

      Having faith in Swedens welfare state is like having faith in Britains in the 1980s. Now you make up your own mind about whether faith in the system is well placed.

      All problems are relative and many countries can only dream of having Swedens problems of a well-funded and stable welfare state. Although I have yet to find graffiti stating WE RATHER LIKE OUR SYSTEM, I do believe on the whole that Sweden is doing it right when it comes to educating its pre-schoolers. I am a firm believer in A.S. Neills educational philosophy that allows free development and self-regulation. Britains government attitude of regulation and testing is damaging. How much creative energy is everyday crushed by an education system that subsumes the needs of the child to the improvement in standing in performance league tables?

    • Swedish Early Years Video
      1 April 2008 - 22:08

      What a fantastic video! The freedom to explore and learn at the children's own pace and a government that trusts its employees. What a contrast to the UK! OK the free play outside classroom environment is slowly filtering through, but I feel we are being overhwhelmed with mountains of paperwork to provide evidence of learning with too much emphasis on results and assessment. Who is this evidence really for? I know my children are happy and learning from the conversations my staff and I have with them, the photos we take, the questions they ask and their creative work. The children set their own 'early learning goals' which are much more personal to them and more likely to be achieved. The constant pressure to assess, pre-plan and fit children into 'stepping stones' is taking the spontanaiety out of early years. Until this government starts to trust us to do our job without constant interference and 'guidelines' by allowing us to work with the children's interests purely for the child's benefit, it will never have staff who are happy with their jobs or children with a 'disposition to learn'. It seems to me that this government have cherry picked the bits of Swedish practice that suits them and ignored the bits that don't!

    • I am from the USA. I have
      28 March 2008 - 16:34

      I am from the USA. I have been a preschool teacher for almost 20years. After seeing this video, I have been telling everyone who is willing to listen to me. Currently, I am doing daycare in my home and I am following this type of program. I just sent this to Good Morning America,which is a news program here in America, and I hope they choose to make this a story they want to report on. In our country, if it is reported on a news program, people tend to get ahold of the local gov. and by that it goes up to the top and something gets done. I am hoping that this type of program is in all schools in every state in my country. Also did you know that the prison rates are low in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway than the USA or the UK?
      I am thinking it is the way they are raised?
      Thank you for doing this video and please can we have a sequel?
      I would love to know if they have dicipline problems with the kids and what they do to correct them. What kind of education do they get to teach? What are the cons, if any, are there with this type of program? How are the rooms set up? That kind of thing.
      Thanks

    • Swedish Early Years Video
      25 February 2008 - 23:55

      What an inspiring programme! It has given me the confidence to carry on in the way that I know is right in the UK contrary to what seems to be fashionable at the moment here.
      As head of a private kindergarten, I have always tried to run our establishment in a similar way to the Swedish model with great regard to the Reggio Emilia centres too. We have lots of natural materials, many little quiet corners and dens, a huge art studio where the children have daily opportunities to be creative (all day if they wish!), outdoor play everyday in a super fairyland garden, slightly messy and a bit quirky but lots of fun. The children are vertically grouped from 2-5 years and they all have turns at preparing snacks and clearing up. We have broad long term plans but have a half hour at the end of each day where we plan the next day based on what the children have enjoyed the day before. (the children finish each day by talking about what they liked doing and making marks/plans in a large floor book for the next day)
      We have been open for 12 years and have been full with an extensive waiting list from day one which tells me that this is what parents want too. Incidentally, many of our little ones leave us well able to read and write because they are at that stage and we would never discourage a child from following their own interests. Others spend their days experimenting with clay, wood, sand, water, gravel and pinecones, filling, emptying, gathering, collecting, hiding, digging, building..... but all start school eager learners with a very positive experience of pre-school and a real disposition to learn.
      The point I make is that we need to have the confidence to follow our hearts - I am a trained primary teacher and all of my staff are well qualified, highly trained and have been very carefully chosen to ensure that their way of thinking is like mine. Most importantly, we have consistently scored the top grading in every government inspection and have been named as a model centre in our county. The last inspector said that our ethos was second to none and that she would even consider moving house to send her own child to us!
      Pay lip service to the demands of planning and be confident and knowledgeable enough to be able to justify what you are doing and you will succeed as we have done.
      The only down side is that we are always short of money and I could earn more working in a local authority school but my personal circumstances allow me to follow my dream (and manage on a bit less than I could and should be paid) and enjoy the job satisfaction that comes from that.
      Educating our little ones in this free, relaxed way gives me the utmost pleasure. I value my staff and get the best from them always and I could not have a better job in the whole world.
      One day the powers that be in this country may see sense...I only hope that I will still be around to enjoy it. Meanwhile we will carry on knowing that we are doing our best for those in our care.


    • Swedish early years video
      17 January 2008 - 07:10

      We all know it is the best start for our children, why does the government not listen? With the strategies now in place for early reading skills the play based curriculum is being eroded by stealth (that's if any of us dared to let go out and play in the first place). This video and these comments need to be presented to the rule makers, they all know that scandanavian countries have the best education systems in the world.
      As for the paperwork, don't get bogged down, improve your reasoning skills (for your head or ofsted), I am not going to write acres of paperwork that I have to put a line through because the children all want to explore what happened to them today (the journey to nursery through the floods). If you follow the rules (pages of paperwork) you will lose your creativity and not be able to respond to learning that is in context for the children. Yesterday we learnt about rivers, floodplains and growth (seeds sitting in water had sprouted roots and shoots) during a walk to view the rain damage. My evidence is in photos, paintings, comments and models the children have made. Early Years practitioners should look to the video when they lose sight of why they are doing. It's inspirational and where we all should be now.

    • Re : Early years - training and qualifications
      9 February 2008 - 00:08

      Having had a relative who has just completed her training as a pre-school assistant, I'd say it's pretty similar to the UK - maybe more theoretical in parts, but equally demanding and with tons of practical experience.

      In Sweden they focus a lot on theory. Good theories can lead to good practices but if a theory's wrong, the practices that flow from it will never be good.

      There are a multitude of theories influencing Swedish education. By nature, Swedes spend a lot of time discussing things before implementing them. It can be frustrating, but it leads to good decisions.

    • swedish early education
      21 November 2007 - 20:16

      what a fantastic piece of film - I have spent time in Sweden and seen what a great job they do with their children they certainly seem to produce very well rounded, educated, social, pleasant adults !
      Why on earth can we not let the powers that be see this evidence and then campaign hard to put all these ideas into place. As the head of a small village school and reception class teacher I am in the fantasic position to allow my children to get outside and enjoy their education I feel I am the lucky one !!!!W

    • Re : Swedish Early education questions
      15 April 2008 - 17:14

      I am wondering, do they mix the ages in the classrooms? Here in the USA we have all three year olds together, all two year old together, that kind of thing. It seems in the video that the ages are mixed. What are the ratio's children to adult? Do all the children take naps? In the video, it looked like just the babies where taking naps. How long are the naps? If the ages are mixed, how do you teach with the different ages. How many helper are there in a classroom? Can you send me info on classroom layouts, how children are taught, when they do things, that kind of thing? Also what do you do for discipline the children? Do you ever have a problem child and if so what do you do with that child? What is required by the teachers in early education in Sweden?
      Thanks for reading this up to this point. I am sorry for all the questions but I want this type of program here in the USA and need to learn all that I can to try to make the change.

    • Sweden, How they learn
      26 October 2007 - 19:45

      What a fantastic preschool environment. Would love to see this way of learning taken up in the UK. As a recption year practitioner I feel too much of my time is taken up with trying attain and reach the childrens learning goal etc. I feel if we could adopt the Swedish way of learning our children would benefit socially and emotionally and would get so much enjoyment from there local environment.
      The sweden are fortunate that more money is put into there education system and they have smaller classes.

    • Sweden
      16 May 2007 - 18:31

      I work as a childminder and can offer flexible childcare that is often childrens interests led and we can, on the spur of the moment, pack up and go on an outing as weather and how everyone is feeling permits. I really believe that early childhood is a time for play and building personal security in who we are, and that we can build on that with formal learning at an older age.

      I really hope that the UK learns from the Swedish way

    • Re : childminding
      14 March 2008 - 21:43

      My children were all cared for by the same childminder, I felt very inadequate at the time, leaving them to be cared for by someone else.I now realise however that they benefited far more being in her care more than if they had spent their time in a nursery, and had to spend long days being cared for by young girls ,with limited experience and knowledge.We were very blessed to have such a kind and dedicated lady ,who allowed our children the freedom to play without the constraints that chlidern are now exposed to in nursery schools.

    • Re : Sweden and how they do it
      21 February 2007 - 21:17

      What an inspiring programme. On a positive note, I would like to say that there are some fantastic Early Years centres in the UK that operate in as similar a way as is possible considering the restrictions of budgets, staff ratios, UK curriculum (many are in the voluntary sector btw). What struck me most is the way in which swedish teachers are trusted to get on with the job. I think this is a a massive problem in the UK where EY teachers are having to act in a way that is so contrary to their own beliefs and understanding of how young children learn. The issue will never be resolved until we get rid of our assessment/testing obsessed education system(right up to KS3!)

    • Re : Sweden and how they do it.
      22 February 2007 - 10:24

      I work in early years (nursery) and just looking at the happy, carefree children in that video made me realise that i do not have time to 'play' with the children in my settting. I (and other staff) spend so much time assessing, testing and hitting targets, that this country seems to have forgotten the importance of play. We spend so much time spending money and setting up play areas that we forget that children can make the most out of cardboard boxes! who needs expensive equipment. It must be lovely to take the children to the lake without all the paper work that a trip out takes!!!

    • Scandinavian education
      12 February 2007 - 09:07

      It's so interesting for me to read your comments about Scandinavian education. I haven't seen the video yet but I think I have to do it. A group ICT-coordinators from our region were visiting the BETT-show in January and we also did a Study visit in a school outside London. And I must say, we were so impressed about many things, not least the Interactive Whiteboards in every classroom. We also thought that maybe the scandinavian school are freer and more creative, but we liked the organized and systemized way things were done in that english school we visited. We concluded that the best mix of a School system must be a combination of the Scandinavian and the Brittish. One more thing hits me when reading your comment about scandinavian education - there is so much to learn from "visiting" each others classrooms. Monica Esborn, ICT-coordinator, Alingss, Sweden

    • scandinavian education
      11 February 2007 - 21:43

      I watched this video this week and it took me back to the years I spent in Finland. When I first moved there, to work in an International School, I was concerned for the 5 and 6 year olds who did not attend school. By the time I left, 14 years later, and moved back to the UK I was completely converted and now advocate a later start to an academic curriculum. My middle son was 6 when we moved here, he started school in year 2 unable to read or write, by Christmas he was in the top group for numeracy and literacy. As his teacher said 'he was just ready'. Isn't that the key? Why do we try to teach children before they are ready?
      My last year in Finland was spent teaching 7 year olds in a Finnish state school. Class sizes are not allowed to go above 24 in the first few years. Children do not all start and finish at the same time so for parts of the day you may only have half the class present to do more focussed work. Children become independent and responsible very early on and I think that is thanks to the great emphasis put on emotional and social learning in the preschools.

    • Sweden, how do they do it?
      8 February 2007 - 13:30

      I was amazed at the video, because play, learning and fun are big issues in my country (Argentina). There has beeen as there still is a widespread debate about early years and their repercusion in higher education. It is always the case that pre-school years are to blame for the lack of learning and or abilities that the children posess. It seems that teachers have to enter a sort of "race" to achieve standards and sometimes you find yourself forcing certain abilities into the childrens curriculum. As teachers we often feel pressured because achievement rates need to be so high that play is hardly ever prevaling. All in all, learning literacy and maths is fun for the children and when both children and teachers enjoy "formal" lessons, learning do take place. It depends on the way in which the teacher chooses to motivate her students and allows them the sufficient time to enjoy their process.

    • Sweden and how they do it
      5 February 2007 - 20:59

      Haven't watched the video yet but went to Sweden last year on a visit as part of a team of teachers.We were impressed with lots we saw but we also noted that they do things as we might like to but can't.
      First class sizes were tiny,,,, their seven year olds were in a class of about 12.( most were smaller)They have at least two full time adults in every class and they were horrified at the idea of 30 children. When we asked to see their planning it consisted of a piece of A3 paper with some notes on basic stuff maths, swedish, some nature study.
      When asked how long they spent on a project They said until its finished... Teachers arrived just before school and left promptly with the children. Parent evenings were longer but in the day time

      As always we take on everyones good ideas but we never drop any of the things we already have so our workload just increases....
      I wont begin to tell you how fantastic their staff rooms were and facilities like coffee and hot chocolate on tap!! Yes we did ask if they needed staff and felt quite jealous.The pay might be less but if I hadn't a family here I would have been tempted.
      Oh and as for health and safety ...after seeing a child bleeding from a skating accident we were told "well he won't do it again" and any rules about climbing a large tree we asked "Oh yes...... only four at a time!!!!!"
      We left feeling very envious and unfortunately I am old enough to remember when teaching here was as much fun............

    • Re : Sweden and how they do it
      12 February 2007 - 22:17

      Had to reply to your comments about remembering a time when teaching in UK was as much fun. Have been in International schools since the mid 90s in the Far East and Europe and am horrified at the pressures children are now put under in the UK. No wonder they are so bored that truancy rates are soaring and behaviour deteriorating. A friend I trained with says she no longer has time to read aloud to her class at the end of each day even though she thinks it is the most important thing she can do with her 7 and 8 year olds. If she was a doctor she would have said that "...in her professional opinion and backed up by her own research, reading and experience she would continue to do it" but teachers in the UK just don't seem to do this any longer. Ted Wragg was the one who said the unacceptable (as far as govts were concerned) but who will take his place? In all the Int. schools I've taught in readiness and creativity and enquiry were the main focus especially in the IB's Primary Years Programme.
      Don't forget what you saw in Sweden as you drown under Risk Assessments and literacy and Numeracy hours and the rest of the nonsenses. .....