UNIVARSITY.ORG | Early years education: Sweden versus the UK Part 1 (of 3)
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02 Dec Early years education: Sweden versus the UK Part 1 (of 3)



In the USA and UK, almost all parents buy into the idea that infants should learn to read & write as soon as possible. Indeed, many parents measure the intelligence & potential of their children by their ability to read and write at an early age. Some even try to give their babies a head start by showing them “Baby Einstein” dvds against all the advice of pediatricians and education experts.

The newspapers advise parents to check out the school league tables and do everything they can to get their children into “good schools”. What is a good school? A school that’s good at getting children to pass SATs. Nothing else is of interest.

The end result?

1) Good teachers (and the vast majority are good) are increasingly demoralized. They either leave the system or just resign themselves to jumping through the latest administrative hoops. Their knowledge, expertise, creativity and unique skills are sacrificed in favour of “targets”, “assessment” and “conforming” to goverment frameworks.

2) Children suffer. They are increasingly stressed out by school. Their intellectual curiosity is stifled. More and more leave school unable to read or write. As children get older, they are less able to meet the more rigorous intellectual challenges of higher education – their minds are less flexible, having been constrained too early. Ask any university lecturer.

Despite the popularity of “Baby Einstein” dvds, “Literacy hours” and National curriculum assessments for children as young as seven, it’s clear that early years education in the UK and USA is in crisis.

As a parent or a teacher, maybe you’re thinking, “There must be a better way”.

Well, there is.

Watch this video and find out!

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MOST RECENT COMMENTS
32 Comments
  • No To Challenge 25
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    They play far more roughly than this in Iceland.

  • Ciara Butler
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    How do I reference this? there is no author or presenter? 🙁

  • Anthony Hughes
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    Who would the Author be, so i can reference this in my assignment?

  • Vroom ItGoesFast
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    Yes, our education system is good when it comes to the early years, but in the middle and latter years it's not that good. Finland is actually a much better model.

  • Bill Snorfle
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    Calm down, no one said it was a country. Thanks for proving the point of this video though.

  • 7thJen
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    You are right! US schools are less demanding. I have been an exchange student as well and I've seen many students fall asleep during class and nobody cared. But on the other side they offer some cool classes. I absolutely loved World Literature (we discussed literature from all over the world) and Studio Art (where I learned how to make jewelry). If you want to learn they offer you some great opportunities but if you don't want to learn they don't encourage you at all and just leave you alone.

  • MrSnowman
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    Strange, my dad is a highschool teacher here in Sweden. He's constantly on about how the students are lacking the knowledge they should have when they come over. Was alot better ~15 years ago according to him.. Maybe that's a global trend.

  • levalivetnu
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    That's not too early or too long. Parents work and children go to school/kinder/pre… I don't like the US school system at all….. I had a friend who went to the US for a High School year and what the US kids was learning was something she had to study when she was 12….. so… that says a lot 😉

  • PoutchieWhoou
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    Oooh I remember when I was in kindergarten, it was do damn fun!!! We were always playing and coloring and having fun and eating breakfast together. And I even have some faint memories of sleeping outside in the winter, just like those kids did, though it was only till we were about a year and a half. Man, I miss those times

  • SWEmanque
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    Just too bad the budget cuts makes the school worse and worse just so thet the liberals can lower the taxes…

    The reading is a much lower not than a few years ago. No matter what system you have you need money to teach out in a good way.

  • Balticsea89
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @WWC4Kuhns Its possible even you're child could get a personal care assistent. for free ofcorse.

  • Asian Rachel
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    This has helped me hugely with one of my assignments. It's based on early years, policies, practitioners and the government. Can someone please help me out, giving me advantages and disadvantages of practitioners?? I'm trying to find some online, but I'm struggling to get any answers. :/

  • MyPineappleDream
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @TheReliquary What do you mean too soon? I was one and I turned out just fine… I was a sleepy kid and the other girls would pretend I was a doll, dress me up and push me around in a stroller 😉

  • winstono75
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    I'm from Norway, and I was an exchange student in the US 10 years ago. I found American high school to be not very encouraging of independent thinking. Most exchange students I talked to agreed that American school was much less demanding than school in their own countries.

  • yasashii89
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @randolphtd1 LOOOL, and when u get there u will be wanting to move away from sweden.

  • jonny
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @Daan892 No, neither is it in denmark, norway and holland, which are the countries in europe who speak the best english.

    I ve never understood why most countries dub movies. Totally destroys them aswell 🙂

  • The Stammering Dunce
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @alexiuzzz There's no language dubbing in Scandinavia?

  • The Stammering Dunce
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @fnumpy I already knew Finland's official languages before you told me but that never occured to me. Thank you.

  • jonny
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @Daan892 Subtitles on movies and TV is the secret 🙂

  • fnumpy
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @Daan892 Yes, but Finns are just awesome in general. Also, they have to learn Swedish in school alongside their own language (since Finland has two offical languages), so that might be the reason why English is easier for them.

  • The Stammering Dunce
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @dedde77 Most of my people (Indonesians) learn English early too but we're still suck. You should hear speak English.

  • The Stammering Dunce
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @fnumpy Finnish is not a Germanic language and yet many Finns are good in English.

  • fnumpy
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    @Daan892 It's probably because Swedish and English are both Germanic languages, as is Norweigan, Danish, Icelandic, German and Dutch. A lot of words and grammar has been borrowed between the languages so it comes more naturally to us. So it's not strange that we're 'good' at it.

  • The Stammering Dunce
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    Can someone tell me why many Scandinavians are good in English? (unlike my people)

  • EmOhLee12345
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    Wow this is so much more organized than the U.S. Many children here are simply left to strangers practically or there siblings who are to young to be caring for them.

  • methuselus
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    I believe in the Swedish system , I enrolled my daughter into pre-school and their main focus is drama, culture, singing, walking in the forest…. this is what a expect a child to do. When the time comes to read and so on then she'll do that, but right now she is just gonna learn to get on with other kids and sing and dance, communicate….

  • Slimsoj
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    Police should therefor refrain from violence and rather use alternative methods and would more readily do so were they only issued a handgun. The right training is paramount, of course.

  • Slimsoj
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    While I agree that there are situations where a tazer gun would be preferable to a normal handgun, Police tend not to regard tazers as a weapon and handle these weapons more frivolously. Swedish Police were granted pepperspray a few years ago, I believe, and have used these nearly on whim where the situation was not threatening but where the person would not comply or obey. I know that this is also the case with tazers in the U.S of A and, I'm sure, in other places such as Britain.

  • HuellsJewels
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    IIRC, USA & Sweden both forced about 60k sterilizations in the 20th Century. Sweden's population was less than 1/20th of the USA.

    Geography & politics also limited 20th century Swedish immigration. Todays immigrants might eventually make Swedens consensual society more adversarial. Cant think of a single historical example suggesting otherwise.

  • Josh Mansour
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    jag har fått nyheterna som du inte är ok svensk?

    om du var dig skulle förstår men, kanske skitas du

  • Jennifer davis
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    I agree!! You said yourself that Sweden has low prison rates. Must be the education that the children get. (smile)

  • Jennifer davis
    Posted at 23:02h, 02 December

    I was telling a friend about this video and she told me Sweden has armed guard out in public all the time. Is this true? Here in the USA we don't have the army out with guns all the time. How does this affect the children if you do have Army men out and about?

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