Kindergarten in Sweden is called förskolan or informally – dagis, and is intended for children between the age of 1 to 5 years old. It builds the foundation for the first part of your child’s lifelong learning. As soon as your child turns 1, they can start attending the kindergarten. Those kids who have siblings already attending the preschool are the first to get the spot.
While on a parental leave, you can attend one of open pre-schools (öppna förskolan) in Sweden. Öppna förskolan offer an opportunity for parents on parental leave to entertain their children in a fun, safe and educational environment. The schools are suitable for the kids who have not got a place at pre-schools yet. It is free and provides social experiences for kids and parents.
Note that in Sweden, it’s better to place your kid in a queue as early as possible so that she/he can start the preschool on a planned day. We, for instance, placed our daughter when she was 4 months old, and she was supposed to get a spot when she turned 1. When the date was closer, we changed out minds to send her to the kindergarten that early, since she still could not walk. We assumed it would be tough for her to get used to the preschool, so we waited until the summer. When she was 1,5 years old, she could confidently walk and eat almost all kinds of food (more teeth had grown). That’s when she started her dagis 🙂
The main purpose of dagis in Sweden is to make kids attending it feel safe so that they can feel themselves at home. Your child’s needs are in first place. When you ask the staff to put the sweater on your kid because you think it’s a bit cold in the premises, you may still discover your kid without one when you pick her up. To your question ”Why is she not wearing her sweater?” you will probably hear something like ”I know you worry about your child, but she didn’t like it, so we let her take it off”. Although it’s not the case with every pre-school in Sweden (heard many negative stories from my friends), still many of them do care about your children.
Preschool activities are intended to be fun and instructive. Children get the opportunity to learn through playing, exploring and creating by themselves, in groups or together with teachers. They play, paint, cut, create, sing, dance, cooperate, woodwork and go for a walk (the so-called outing day) under the supervision of the preschool staff. Activities are planned by preschool teachers with child caretakers involved to promote children’s development and learning.
Preschool activities are governed by the Swedish Education Act and the Curriculum.