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Swedish elementary education

Feedback and opinions on how good it is

mk32
post 3.Aug.2009, 09:46 PM
Post #1
Joined: 3.Aug.2009

Hi,

Would any parents be able to comment on the quality of the Swedish elementary education? My personal opinion is that children learn at a very slow pace. I know a lot of foreigners that have advanced their children to the next grade after learning how slow it is.
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skane refugee
post 3.Aug.2009, 10:02 PM
Post #2
Joined: 14.May.2008

pre-high school mainstream Swedish education targets/supports slow to average learners ... hence the slow pace relative to many other countries whose education systems target/support average to faster learners

plenty of expats move their kids up a year or two to get more challenged ... but when their classmates hit puberty way before them ... they can feel like the only kid left in a class of near-adults ... a recipe for psychologically damaging social isolation at a sensitive age

Swedish education tries not to 'leave anyone behind' and avoids the 'special schools for special needs' approach like the plague ... so if your child ends up in a class with a very slow learner/someone with learning disabilities ... the pace of learning can slow even further :-(

mainstream Swedish elementary education is extremely high quality for children who are slow academically and/or have special needs

mainstream Swedish elementary education is however a poor choice for fast learning children
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byke
post 3.Aug.2009, 10:20 PM
Post #3
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

Schools over here are terrible based on the european / international standard.
Seriously, if you are based in stockholm and can afford it go private.
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Puffin
post 3.Aug.2009, 10:37 PM
Post #4
Location: Dalarna
Joined: 5.Apr.2006

QUOTE (skane refugee @ 3.Aug.2009, 11:02 PM) *
Swedish education tries not to 'leave anyone behind' and avoids the 'special schools for special needs' approach like the plague ... so if your child ends up i ... (show full quote)


What on earth do you mean? This is just urban legend - those children that have learning disabilities which means that thy cannot meet the requirements of the national curriculum attend special schools - espcial schools are used much more widely than in the UK for example

There are special needs schools in Sweden - there are a number of different types - for example
- särskild undervisningsgrupper
- särskola
- träningskola
-specialskola
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byke
post 3.Aug.2009, 11:51 PM
Post #5
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

@ Puffin.

I have to disagree with you.
while there are places for children with extreme / specialist needs.

There are allot of schools now trying to accommodate and enroll children with extra needs as it helps schools generate extra revenue from the state.

Its actually quite a sad situation as schools (at least in stockholm) are rather desperate to get extra cash in, and ways to manipulate the system are rife.

For example many schools they actively look for children that "might" have some sort of an issue in the hopes that extra money can be awarded to the school for "special needs".
If an average school has 500 students, you can bet that 100 of those students will be submitted as having needs in the hopes of receiving extra cash.
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 3.Aug.2009, 11:54 PM
Post #6
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

Judging by the cognitive abilities of the expats on this forum, I would say that the Swedish school system does a pretty good job...
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Miss Kitten
post 4.Aug.2009, 12:03 AM
Post #7
Location: Gothenburg
Joined: 20.Aug.2007

Although I'm not familiar with all the details of the Swedish primary education system, I do know that one of the ways that it differs from the American system is that children attend three years of kindergarten here. I'm not sure what the reason for this is. In the US, they attend only one year of kindergarten.

Also, Swedish children begin to learn English at what many parents consider to be a fairly late age (3rd grade or age 9-10). The company for which I previously worked offered a solution for parents who wished to start their children's English education at an earlier age. We offered private and group English lessons after the childrens' regular lessons, usually during their fritids. Of course some of the parents who didn't or couldn't take advantage of this (the lessons certainly aren't cheap) thought it wasn't very fair to their kids that some of their peers had this head start. It goes against the whole "keep it lagom" way of thinking.
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Puffin
post 4.Aug.2009, 07:44 AM
Post #8
Location: Dalarna
Joined: 5.Apr.2006

QUOTE (Miss Kitten @ 4.Aug.2009, 01:03 AM) *
Also, Swedish children begin to learn English at what many parents consider to be a fairly late age (3rd grade or age 9-10). The company for which I previously worked offered ... (show full quote)


Actually starting as late as year 3 or 4 is considered very old fashioned these days - especially given that all children have to sit the same nationella prov (national test) in English in year 5 - there are very few kommuns that have not gone over to starting English lessons in year 1 - all of the kommuns in my County have now done this.

The level of support given to children with English as their first language does vary - even between schools within the same kommun
- some offer no additional support and children must attend the same lessons as their peers
- some offer limited extra support - for example the English speaking child has their own book but limited teaching
- some schools offer to advance the child for English so that they attend English lessons with a group 2 or 3 years higher
- some schools offer individually tailored ans taught English programmes

Many parents have cottoned onto the fact that you no longer have to pay for additional English lessons as all children who do not speak Swedish at home have the right to free first language instruction from a native speaking language teacher from dagis age upwards - all you have to do is to apply to the council education department
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skane refugee
post 4.Aug.2009, 08:49 AM
Post #9
Joined: 14.May.2008

QUOTE (Puffin @ 3.Aug.2009, 10:37 PM) *
What on earth do you mean? This is just urban legend - those children that have learning disabilities which means that thy cannot meet the requirements of the national curricu ... (show full quote)


It's a matter of degree ... there is a local school with specialist units for the mentally handicapped for example that is exemplary ...

as I've posted many times before ... Sweden offers excellent/world leading education for children with special needs ... absolutely no disagreement or dispute there Puffin

but schools, parents and kommuns are loathe to move children out of a 'normal' class who have less extreme learning disabilities (often only in the opinion of the childs parents)

there are children in my eldest sons class (age 9) who sadly have fairly severe (i.e. though unnamed, they've made the regional and national news in Sweden) socialisation and behavioural issues as well as learning problems (perhaps the two are linked) who would, to my mind, clearly benefit from being moved to a class with dedicated well trained teachers

one of the severe problem children has been moved to a neighbouring school (not special needs) and the other remains in the class

learning goes at an absolute snails pace during the limited school hours

I was reassured by a Scottish hemspråk teacher that Swedish kids tend to catch up the 2 year start gap with their UK peer group by age 13 due to the specialist teaching techniques in Sweden and the homework assignmments given at an earlier age than in the UK ...

however, the gap with my eldests year younger cousin (who's visiting just now from the UK) has, if anything, grown educationally ...

many parents of older children have confided that they have spent a lot of extra time educating their own children out of school hours to bridge the gaps
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skane refugee
post 4.Aug.2009, 08:57 AM
Post #10
Joined: 14.May.2008

QUOTE (Puffin @ 4.Aug.2009, 07:44 AM) *
Actually starting as late as year 3 or 4 is considered very old fashioned these days - especially given that all children have to sit the same nationella prov (national test) ... (show full quote)


well I can say categorically that my eldests (age 9) class has not started learning English yet ... though I believe that they start after the summer holidays ...

he has had hemspråk (home language) teaching the last couple of years for 45 minutes a week during school weeks which was initially quite good ... but the standard of english among kids with an anglophone parent varies dramatically (fathers working away a lot leave the kids in an almost exclusively Swedish home environment for example) and class size/speed is just pot luck

they also schedule these lessons on friday afternoons ... so it seems like a punishment to the children concerned :-(
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byke
post 4.Aug.2009, 09:37 AM
Post #11
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

I know of swedish schools that do start "English" from grade 1 but it varies from school to school.

I think the biggest issue and problems that "hemspråk" is that it doesn't really offer much help apart from somewhat basic "talking" and it never does truly develop the child's mother tongue. And schools do not offer subjects for children in "primary level" languages, apart from Swedish.

In regards to kids with problems or issues, I have seen some really f*ked up kids (and I mean REALLY f*ked up) integrated into normal school classes and unfortunately they can have a huge impact on the class in terms of resources and harmony within the class.

Sometimes parents of children with issues will not accept that their child is any different than other children or feel that their child may have issues but conceder normal integration the best option for their child's development but don't ever conceder the effect or issues it could have on other children in the class. Add to this a lack of resources and a really messed up school law system with a strong underlying message of political correctness you end up with a situation of a whole lot of hurt.
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Puffin
post 4.Aug.2009, 09:53 AM
Post #12
Location: Dalarna
Joined: 5.Apr.2006

I think that the English education varies a little - but my kommun was the last in Dalarna to go over to English in year 1 - and it was only because the local councillors suddenly realised that this was the reason the kommun did so badly in the year 5 national tests was that the kids were not starting to learn the language until year 4 - so they had little chance in catching up in one year what other kommuns had been learning for 5 years.

I'm surpised at what you say about hemspråk - as for my DD1 the teacher contacted us to discuss what we wanted covered in hemspråk - so in the past year DD1's hemspråk lessons have focussed on written English and espcially grammar - so it might be a good idea to ask for a meeting to discuss what is being covered.

I think that the average Swedish child does catch up - but when this occurs varies from child to child - I was fairly shocked that my DD2 was after 1 term in Sweden - reading much more fluently than her cousin who had been in school in the UK for 3 years.
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byke
post 4.Aug.2009, 10:52 AM
Post #13
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

I think the problem with "hemspråk" again is it can get integrated into school classes instead so that the school can receive and allocate the cash into the resources they see fit.

Obviously the biggest disadvantage with having English as a home language is that its not foreseen as an international language (and normally dubbed British which then gives it a national identity unfortunately) , and because sweden has no curriculum or guidelines set out for primary language education other than Swedish its a total mess depending where you are based.

In stockholm where there is a high amount of foreign or bilingual families (over 30%), schools that are dubbed bi-lingual or "english" are over subscribed, which shows this isnt about trying to fill classes.
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mk32
post 4.Aug.2009, 11:41 AM
Post #14
Joined: 3.Aug.2009

I have raised the question because I am considering my child to skip one of the lower grades. I was not sure if this is a good idea because faculty is opposing my suggestions due to the importance of social skills.
After speaking to some of the parents I have met here they agree that children in Sweden could start learning sooner.

We arrived from a country where children start first grade from the age of six not seven. Has anyone you know advanced their children in the Swedish schools?

Thanks for all the input!
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helikopter
post 4.Aug.2009, 12:16 PM
Post #15
Joined: 23.Jun.2009

My child is 3 and goes to dagis.I guess she has loads of fun and play there but almost no education.So I have taken it upon me to teach her english at home and she can speak fairly well english, can count numbers(online counting games), recognises all aplhabets and can write upto "H"...we'll reach "Z" soon!
I am worried about the pace of education here.But my plan is to keep her abreast with kids her age, back home, by teaching her at home.Maybe this will be a little harsh on her..but i can't help.
As for kids with special needs going to normal schools, I have seen many examples. Also, there is kid in my child's dagis who has behavourial issues, the social system takes care of the kid as the mother is always drunk.The child is always disturbed and violent, hitting\biting\abusing other kids.Wish he could go to a special(reformist kinda)school\dagis instead of polluting the environment elsewhere.It does influence other kids a lot.
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