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Sweden:Early Childhood Education and Care

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Overview Sweden

Contents

Sweden:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Sweden:Historical Development

Sweden:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Sweden:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Sweden:Political and Economic Situation

Sweden:Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Sweden:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Sweden:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Sweden:Organisation of Private Education

Sweden:National Qualifications Framework

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Sweden:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Funding in Education

Sweden:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Sweden:Higher Education Funding

Sweden:Adult Education and Training Funding

Sweden:Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Organisation of Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Organisation of the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Assessment in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Sweden:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Organisation of Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Higher Education

Sweden:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Sweden:First Cycle Programmes

Sweden:Bachelor

Sweden:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Sweden:Second Cycle Programmes

Sweden:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Sweden:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Sweden:Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Distribution of Responsibilities

Sweden:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Sweden:Main Providers

Sweden:Main Types of Provision

Sweden:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Sweden:Teachers and Education Staff

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Management and Other Education Staff

Sweden:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Sweden:Management Staff for Higher Education

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Quality Assurance

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Educational Support and Guidance

Sweden:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Sweden:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Sweden:Mobility and Internationalisation

Sweden:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Mobility in Higher Education

Sweden:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Sweden:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Sweden:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:National Reforms in School Education

Sweden:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Sweden:National Reforms in Higher Education

Sweden:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Sweden:European Perspective

Sweden:Legislation

Sweden:Institutions

Sweden:Glossary

Introduction

The Swedish Parliament and the Government set out the goals and guidelines for the preschool and school through the Education Act and the Curricula. The preschool, the preschool class and the leisure-time centre are regulated in the Education Act (Skollagen SFS 2010:800), but have two different curricula, see the sections below for each type of ECEC. The National Agency for Education is the central administrative authority for the publicly organised preschools and school age childcare. The mission of the agency is to actively work for the attainment of the goals. The municipalities and the independent schools are the principal organisers in the school system, they allocate resources and organise activities so that pupils attain the national goals. The agency supervises, supports, follows up and evaluates the school in order to improve quality and outcomes. For more statistics on ECEC see chapter 2.8 Statistics on Organisation and Governance.

The preschool

Municipalities are required by the Education Act to provide preschool activities and childcare for children aged 1–12 years to the extent necessary for their parents to be able to work or study or for the child’s own needs. This requirement includes preschool for children whose parents are unemployed or on parental leave with another sibling. These children should be offered a place in preschool for at least three hours per day or 15 hours per week. All children are entitled to free preschool for at least 525 hours per year from the autumn term when they turn three years old.

A total of 83 percent of all children aged 1–5 years old attend preschool. The distribution between boys and girls is generally equal. The proportion of enrolled children has increased to some extent in all age groups. 47 percent of 1 year olds attended pre-school, 87 and 92 percent respectively of 2 and 3 year olds and 94 percent of all 4 and 5 year olds.

Sweden's maximum fee policy makes childcare affordable. Fees are calculated according to income with low-income families paying nothing while the cost is capped at SEK 1,287 (about €140) per month for all families.

The preschool has had its own curriculum since 1998 (revised in 2010). The preschool curriculum (Läroplan för förskolan Lpfö 98. Reviderad 2010) sets out fundamental values and tasks, national goals and guidelines. The educational principles of the preschool curriculum are based on the assumption that care and education go hand in hand. A good caring environment is essential for development and learning, while care in itself provides educational content. The curriculum also emphasises the importance of play in the child's learning and development, and the child's own active participation. Preschool is meant to be fun, secure and educational for all children.

The preschool curriculum was revised in 2010 and now contains clearer objectives for children's development in language and mathematics, and in natural sciences and technology. The guidelines for staff responsibilities have been clarified, both at individual teacher level and at team level. New sections on monitoring, evaluation and development, and on the responsibilities of preschool heads, have been added.

Open preschool is for stay at home parents and their children. The parents together with the staff have the opportunity to develop educational group activities for the children. The children are not enrolled.

The preschool class

The preschool class is incorporated in the school system. The compulsory school and the preschool class, as well as the leisure-time centre, share a common curriculum, the Curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and the leisure-time centre (Läroplan för grundskolan, förskoleklassen och fritidshemmet 2011).

The preschool class is a voluntary type of school within the public school system. The activities in preschool classes should be considered as teaching in the same sense as in other types of school. The education in preschool class will encourage each child’s learning and development at the same time as providing a foundation for continued schooling. It is mandatory for municipalities to provide preschool classes and for all six year olds to be offered a place for a minimum of 525 hours. Participation is voluntary for the children.

In the school year 2014/15 preschool class was available in all of the country’s municipalities. The proportion of six year olds enrolled in preschool class 2014/15 was 96 percent.

Over ten percent of the pupils attended a preschool class organised by independent management. The proportion of pupils attending independent facilities varied between municipalities and was highest in major cities and suburban municipalities. In one of ten municipalities, more than 13 percent of the pupils were enrolled in a independent school’s preschool class, while almost 100 municipalities had no pupils in such facilities.

The leisure-time centre

Leisure-time centres are educational group facilities, operating during the times of the day and year when schools are closed for enrolled children whose parents are working or studying or for children who have their own needs of the facilities. Generally leisure time centres are integrated within schools. Leisure-time centres are aimed at children up to 12 years-old who attend school.

Open leisure-time centres are analternative to leisure-time centres and educational activities for all children in the age group 10–12 years. The children are not enrolled.

Providers

Alongside the municipal preschools and schools there are grant-aided independent preschools and schools. They have a different principal organiser/owner than the municipality or county council. For more information about grant-aided independent preschools and schools see chapter 2.4 - Organisation of private education. Independently organised and grant aided childcare is most common in the bigger cities and their suburbs. Of 290 Swedish municipalities 236 had grant-aided independent childcare in 2014/15. The table below shows the different kinds of institutions in early childhood education and care. It also shows how many of them that are independently organised (figures from 2014 or the academic year 2014/15).

Number of institutions

Whereof independently organised


Preschool

Preschool institutions 2014/15

9 863 

2 655

Family day care homes 2014

2 372

749

Open preschool 2014

439

31


School-age childcare

Leisure-time centres 2014/15

4 208 

658

Family day care homes

-

-

Open leisure-time centres 2014

586

79

Preschool class 2014/15

3 626

564

The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket)