• Sweden edition
 
Swedish preschool touts 'ice hockey' curriculum

Swedish preschool touts 'ice hockey' curriculum

Published: 07 Mar 2012 15:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Mar 2012 15:24 GMT+01:00

A preschool in northern Sweden is teaching kids geography, maths – and respect – through a new curriculum inspired by the rough and tumble world of Sweden's top professional hockey league, the Elitserien.

"The Elitserien has endless lessons to teach children about respect," teacher Helén Renberg told The Local.

Renberg is one of the teachers at the Stortorget preschool in Arvidsjaur, which has been testing a novel approach to learning this term.

"It all started after Christmas. We found that both boys and girls were really interested in hockey. They were asking about the results, which teams were playing, et cetera," she said.

Renberg and her colleagues decided to harness the enthusiasm of the kids, aged one-to five-years-old, and come up with a way to use the Elitserien as a teaching tool.

"The primary goal of our school is teaching respect. And hockey provides a number of ways to teach respect, from the way players shake hands with each other, to how they thank a referee after the game," said Renberg.

"We've got rules that encourage the kids to be positive and proud about the teams they support but refrain from saying bad things about other teams, no matter who wins."

While some parents were sceptical at first, the optional theme proved wildly popular with the kids.

Teachers discovered the children were receptive to learning lessons in maths, geography, colours, and shapes in a whole new way when the teaching method involved Sweden's top professional hockey clubs.

"We have a big map of Sweden with pins for where all the teams are based. When we talk about upcoming matches the kids ask about how far the teams need to travel and how they will get there. They start to see what a long country Sweden is," said Renberg.

Hockey is even helping the Swedish pre-schoolers learn about music, as via a CD which has the theme songs of all 16 teams, as well as the Swedish national anthem.

"It's playing all the time," Renberg said.

The day after each match, the kids get to hone their math skills by tallying up the points awarded to the winning teams and then update a replica of the league's leaders' table hanging on the classroom wall.

And the youngsters get to learn more about shapes and colours by studying the emblems and jerseys of the Elitserien teams.

"But soon we're going to have to change everything because the playoffs are coming up," said Renberg.

And if reports from parents are any guide, it appears as if the Stortorget school has scored with its hockey-based curriculum.

"The parents see a difference in how their kids behave," Renberg said.

"Now they're really into it too and have been coming forward with their own suggestions."

Renberg dismissed concerns that a violent sport such as ice hockey is a wrongheaded approach to teaching children about respect.

"(If the kids ask about a hockey fight) that simply becomes another teachable moment," she said.

Renberg and her colleagues recently shared their success with teachers at other area schools, but explained there's no guarantee the project will continue next year.

"It all depends on what the kids are interested in," she said.

For the time being, however, the youngsters are focusing on the upcoming playoffs.

"I'd say the group is equally divided between Skellefteå and Luleå," said Renberg.

David Landes

twitter.com/davelandes

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:46 March 7, 2012 by Emerentia
I think its good that the school take something that the kids are interested in, and make lessons out of that.

Is the teacher perhaps related to Mikael Renberg?
Today's headlines
Police seeking missing Swede in London
Sofie Marie Jansson, who is currently missing in London. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

772
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com