Feminist pre-school set to open in Umeå

Paul O'Mahony
Paul O'Mahony - [email protected]

Plans are afoot to open a feminist pre-school for one to five-year-olds in Umeå in northern Sweden. The co-operative behind the initiative is currently on the look-out for suitable premises before submitting an official application to the local council.


The parents behind the move hope to have the pre-school ready for business by autumn 2007, and already 12 children are lined up to join the inaugural classes.

"We need more pre-schools. Umeå is expanding, and if this group meets our criteria for quality and security there is no reason why they should not be allowed to open the school. As long as they work with the pre-school curriculum there should not be a problem," Lennart Jonsson from Umeå town council told The Local.

Jonsson explains that around 80 percent of schools and pre-schools in the town are public. The rest are run by private individuals, parents' co-operatives, churches and Waldorf groups.

Caroline Ahlénius is one of those behind the initiative to expand the range of privately run pre-schools.

"We feel there is a need for a gender perspective whereby children are not limited as a result of their sex. In other places maybe boys don't learn to express themselves and maybe apply violence rather than more productive solutions," she told local newspaper Västerbottens Folkblad.

While the details have not yet been ironed out, the newspaper reports that the new pre-school may be equipped with gender-neutral toys and children's books written from a gender perspective.

Caroline Ahlénius is concerned that a regular pre-school education might cause her daughter to suppress her personality.

"I think children should have equal opportunities to meet their full potential," she said.


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