Things Always Happen for a Reason?
I’m so excited about getting our children into this Swedish school in our new neighborhood, that I can’t contain myself. But let’s take a few steps back…
Two months ago we were trying to rent this amazing Swedish villa in the country side. It was perfect. It was a mansion with several bedrooms, a few living rooms and plenty of space for everyone and their mother to come for a visit. The yard was huge with its own apple orchid (and a playhouse and a trampoline for the kids). Someone had once had a day spa in the premises, and it still had the sauna and jacuzzi and the massage room.. and all of this was by a river, with your own dock. Needless to say that when the deal fell through and we didn’t get the house, we all felt like the sky was falling down. It felt like our entire Swedish dream was crumbling to small pieces.
Today I found out why we didn’t get the house – well, cosmically that is. I think we were meant to get the house we felted we were settling for in the suburbs, in Hjulsbro area, next to the Kinda canal because we haven’t even moved in yet, and I already feel like I’ll love our new life, after visiting the kids’ new school today.
Swedish School is… different
We visited both the international school and the Swedish school, and we played with the idea of maybe starting kids off in the international school until they learn Swedish, and then maybe transferring them to normal Swedish school. But how would they learn Swedish if majority of the education was in English, right? Also the international school is nowhere close where we’ll live, and they didn’t offer education in English to our oldest one.
The neighborhood school is a few blocks from our new home where we will move in April, in a safe cul-de-sac, surrounded by the woods. Kids could walk to school by themselves every day. The principal greeted us and told us about the school and walked us around the school, and the more we heard the more we started smiling.
What we learned about Swedish schools today. Swedish schools have a lot of holidays… Spring break and Easter break are both one week and they have several four day weekends as well. They emphasis on importance of kids playing a lot, and school days end at 1 or 2 PM every day. They had an after school program that you could apply to have your child to stay after school in case both parents worked full time.
They teach all of the social studies, science and math as in the US, but in addition they also have craft classes – woodworking, sewing, knitting, you know, all the essentials. They start learing English on the 1st grade in this school, and a third language on the sixth grade (Spanish, French, or German). The PE is twice a week, but I didn’t catch what kind of music program they have – I know it’s not going to be as fantastic as what we had in New York, but you can’t have it all now can you?
The lunch is provided, and it includes a salad bar and fresh bread everyday and it’s in a buffet style and children can take whatever they want. Home brought lunches are not allowed, and the children have assigned seats in the cafeteria.
The kids will also have assigned seats in the classrooms, and instead of lockers they have their own desks. The class rooms had ergonomically designed furniture, colorful designer lamps and even couches. In addition the hallways were filled with lounging areas (it was like IKEA catalog coming alive), potted flowers, bookshelves and kids art. I couldn’t stop smiling as watching the happy children in the school, all excited to practice their English with our kids.
It reminded me a lot of the Finnish school, and I’m looking forward my children experiencing many things I experienced as a kid. I couldn’t believe that all this was happening… my children would be able to go to a different kind of school, where state tests didn’t even exist, and it was all done by thinking the children first – and then the budgets and politics. Even though it was all very common to me, the difference really didn’t hit me the same way until I realized my children would get to experience different kind of education system.
Wow, how did this happen again?