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Digital technology is now an official part of Sweden's preschool curriculum

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Digital technology is now an official part of Sweden's preschool curriculum
Children in preschools in Bjuv use digital technology such as iPads and small robots in their activities. Photo: Andreas Hillergren / TT
09:01 CEST+02:00
This school year, digitalization is a formal part of the preschool curriculum in Sweden after a law change that came into effect in July.

Several schools, including most of Sweden's Waldorf schools, have said they plan to remain scree-free and hope for a change to the curriculum.

But others, such as the preschools in Bjuv municipality in Skåne, have already been working to integrate digital technology into activities for several years.

In Bjuv's preschools, children learn very basic programming, learning to give commands to small robots using arrow buttons, and they also use iPads.

The municipality's development strategist Anna Jacobsson says the schools work hard to ensure the children use technology in an appropriate way, to complement face-to-face and group activities rather than to replace them.

"There are so many apps where you just click and move things. You have to think about what you actually want to use the tools for. Thinks like memory games and puzzles probably don't get better just because they're digital, but if you work with things like video, pictures and programming, there's less focus on the tool and more focus on what you create," she says.

The children can use QR codes which they can scan to listen to a specific song or fairy tale, and use tech to create their own pictures and videos.

"Preschool should give children the background to build a critical and responsible relationship with digital technology. As a small child you perhaps don't have that critical ability, but we can build the foundations of it," comments Jacobsson.

At the other end of the scale, some preschools have taken a more restrictive approach to tech. One school in Örebro, the Waldorfförskola Viljan, has chosen to be explicitly screen-free.

"We are practicing a principle of caution, and trying to put the children's needs at the centre. We don't know very much about what digital technology does to small children," the school's headteacher, Anna Gribble Greider, says. 

"The advantage is all the time the children get for linguistic, social, emotional, and physical development through playing with other children, which they wouldn't get if they were sitting in front of a screen," she explains. "Many caregivers have chosen our school specifically because we are screen-free."

Vocabulary

preschool – (en) förskola

curriculum – (en) läroplan

programming – programmering

tool – (ett) verktyg

screen – (en) skärm

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