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Swedish Preschool Curriculum

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ash buell

on 10 November 2015

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Transcript of Swedish Preschool Curriculum

Key Elements of Swedish Preschool Curriculum
The swedish curriculum is a framework and guideline that offers direction.
Origins derive from the 1800s
Three Fundamental Values: Children's Right, Gender Equity, Education for Sustainable Development
Play- Based Learning, Play-ful Classrooms
School System is goal-based instead of skill-based
Children shape the environment
Children are regarded as individuals with competence, experience, interest, knowledge and skills to take on everyday activities
Healthy Lifestyle - Children spend lots of time outdoors
Do not emphasis on learning to read and write
How is the curriculum implemented?
Play-based learning: the children are developing and achieving goals through play
Open learning environments
Activities planned by the interests and experiences of each child
Parents are responsible for first experiences and educators branch off those experiences
Educators develop activties from the children's foundation skills giving from the parents
Educator's focus on their observations and implement activities based on the children
Children's activities are posted through pictures
What is the role of documentation in the Swedish Preschool Currculum?

Educators are always looking out for the children therefore providing documentation to understand the children’s achievements is essential. “Documentation is one of the key phenomena related to preschool education in Sweden right now” (Emilson &Samuelsson, 2014).
The key to documentation is “to collect, analyse, and categorize to make something visible to someone” (Emilson &Samuelsson, 2014). In Sweden, they are having troubles figuring out what to document and what not to document. It was seen in a study by Emilson and Samuelsson that there are two forms of documentation; directed and silent. Educators are either involving
themselves with the student or not talking to them at all. They did an example about how when teachers are being directed they are making the children complete a task rather than just watching to see what they do. Therefore, in Sweden educators do continue to document the children either directed or silent. Documentation can lead to the ELECT document and how
Sweden preschool can relate
How are observations used in the curriculum model?
Swedish Preschool Curriculum
Main forms of observation: Narrative and running records
Observations lead to educators creating learning environments that suits the needs of the children
Children are divided into smaller groups therefore educators can provide a relaxed, playful, secure environment and can observe children
Educators need to observe the children and learn about their interests and abilities in order to plan and implement the curriculum
How is planning approached in the Swedish Preschool Model?
The Swedish curriculum sets out the fundamental values as well as the goals and guidelines for the activities but it does not stipulate how these goals are to be achieved. The actual education and how to teach is decided by every educator and is based on the children’s interests, needs as well as their input. Planning the curriculum is a day-to-day activity and promotes a holistic approach. The day is not structured, there is no formal paperwork to complete and there are no formal lessons. There are no expectations from the educators to collect formal observations of the children and their experiences, rather they are given plenty of time to explore and play with the children. There are no tests to compare and evaluate the children; instead they are to focus on each individual child.
Emilson, A. & Samuelsson, I. (2014). Documentation and communication in Swedish
Preschools. School of Educatin, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden. Retrieved From
How each of the 6 ELECT principles are demostrated in through the Swedish Preschool Curriculum Model...
The Swedish preschool curriculum is directly supporting the first core E.L.E.C.T. principle Early child development sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behaviour and health by its roots in establishing a progression of continuum of care, a sound basis as it provides, “…an approach to perspectives in learning, values, and goals.” (E.L.E.C.T. Document, 2015). The focus of a healthy lifestyle and attention to nutrition is highlighted through its respect of daily outdoor time and offering nutritious home cooked meals.

Early child development sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behavior and health.
Partnerships with families and communities strengthen the ability of
early childhood settings to meet the needs of young children.

In regard to social network, in Sweden, there is also a law that guarantees a place in preschool for each working or studying parent's child within a few months from the day the parents request it. “ To accommodate the high percentage of working parents, society has taken partial responsibility for young children's education and well-being. The development of national plans for preschools also reflects society's awareness of the importance of the early years for lifelong learning.” (M. Alvestad, I.P. Samuelsson, 1999).

“In the Swedish plan, one task is to develop values according to society or, in other words, an ethical code of democracy. This code should underlie the activities in preschools. "Preschool is resting upon the ground of democracy," the curriculum states. (Utbildningsdepartementet, 1998a, p. 7) as cited in (M. Alvestad, I.P. Samuelsson, 1999). Further on, the plan says that the preschools' activities are to be in accordance with fundamental democratic values. Care of and respect for other human beings in the form of justice and equality should form the basis for activities. Children develop ethical values and norms in everyday experiences.” (M. Alvestad, I.P. Samuelsson, 1999).
“According to the Swedish plan, democracy and aspects of it should constitute both content and method in the everyday life of children. Preschool should actively and consciously influence and stimulate children to develop an understanding of the common democratic values in our society, to make it possible for them to take part in society in the future. Preschool should strive for each child to develop the following:
• openness, respect, solidarity, and responsibility;
• the ability to respect and understand other human beings and their situations;
• the ability to discover, reflect upon, and state her or his own opinion on different ethical dilemmas and life questions in everyday life;
• an understanding of all people’s equal worth, independent of gender and social or ethnic background; and
• respect for all living species and care for our environment.” (M. Alvestad, I.P. Samuelsson, 1999).

Respect for diversity, equity, and inclusion are prerequisites for honoring children’s rights, optimal development, and learning.
The Swedish plan is a “humanistic and democratic” in nature. As per the planned curriculum is supports early learning through a national plan. Sweden has a long tradition of creating national plans for preschools. “In 1988, Sweden developed its first national guidelines for preschools, called "Educational Program for Preschools" (Socialstyrelsen, 1988:7) as cited in (M. Alvestad, I.P. Samuelsson, 1999). In these guidelines, the framework for the community responsible for the preschool was established. For implementation of the general guidelines, another book was published, called "Learning in Preschool" (Socialstyrelsen, 1989), as cited in (M. Alvestad, I.P. Samuelsson, 1999), which was directed toward staff working with children. The National Board of Health and Welfare also took initiative in two research overviews to give staff a better foundation for understanding and making use of the guidelines. (Kärrby, 1990; Pramling, 1993).as cited in (M. Alvestad, I.P. Samuelsson, 1999).

A planned curriculum supports early learning.
The Swedish Curriculum Model is very much a play-based early learning approach, which is clearly highlighted through the Swedish key beliefs the model promotes and is based upon. Play allows for an exceptional opportunity to early learning. Note the commentary of two leading early learning authorities in Sweden, Marit Alvestad lecturer and doctorate student and Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson professor of Early Learning at Göteborg University, Sweden, indicate that, “Play is seen as an important dimension in children’s learning. In play, children develop their communicative and social competence. Play is especially important in work with children in need of special help and care.” (M. Alvestad, I.P. Samuelsson, 1999). Also significant is the, United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child is celebrating its twentieth year in having outlined their “Convention on the Rights of the Child”. This provides a basis for the national plan. According to Unicef (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), “Article 31 (Leisure, play and culture): Children have the right to relax and play and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.” (UNICEF, 2003).

Play is a means to early learning that capitalizes on children’s natural curiosity
and exuberance.
“In Sweden, about 60% of staff members have university degrees as preschool teachers, …The remaining staff members working in preschools are teacher assistants, often educated as child caregivers or the equivalent—positions that require secondary education. … the structure is less hierarchical, with two preschool teachers sharing responsibility”. (M. Alvestad, I.P. Samuelsson, 1999).

Knowledgeable, responsive early childhood professionals are essential.

Algonquin College Lesson Notes: Vygotsky; Zone of Proximal Development and Scaffolding. (2015). Retrieved November 3, 2015.

Alvestad, M., & Samuelsson, I. (1999). A Comparison of the National Preschool Curricula in Norway and Sweden. Home Journal, 1(2). Retrieved October 2, 2015, from https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/4559945

ELECT Document Principles - Early Learning for Every Child Today. (2013). Retrieved October 2, 2015, from http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/early_learning_for_every_child_today.aspx#principle

Kail, R., & Zolner, T. (2012). Child Development: Theories and Themes. In Children: A Chronological Approach (Fourth Canadian ed., pp. 8-9). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

A. Sandberg, E. Ärlemalm-Hagsér, E. (2011). The Swedish National Curriculum: Play and Learning with Fundamental Values in Focus. Australasian Journal Of Early Childhood, 36(1), 44-50.

Soffel, J. (2011, June 26). Gender Bias Fought At Egalia Preschool In Stockholm, Sweden. Huffington Post. Retrieved November 4, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/26/gender-bias-egalia-preschool_n_884866.html

UNICEF - Convention on the Rights of the Child. (2003, June 11). Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.unicef.org/crc/files/Rights_overview.pdf,

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By: Ashley Buell,
Anna Stella
Mangone &
Mireille Scrivener

Thank you!
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