Sweden’s Pre-Schools Impress Germany
There’s a good chance that Sweden’s model of combined day care/pre-school may be adopted by Germany. The country’s youth minister sounded definitely positive after a fact-finding trip to Stockholm.
Accompanied by Jan Björklund, Sweden’s minister for education, the youth minister Ms. von der Leyen took good time to inspect a nursery in Stockholm and to talk to children and personnel. After the guided tour she told journalists that the purpose of her visit in Sweden was to learn as much as possible about the Swedish way of combining children’s day care with both parents ability to work
Ursula von der Leyen described her mission as a consequent continuation of the policy she introduced when she joined the cabinet of Angela Merkel in November of 2005. Faced with the problem of Germany’s shrinking birth rates von der Leyen decided it was time to encourage young couples to have children even when both wanted to keep their jobs. Step one was the introduction of a parental salary in 2007 to compensate for the necessary absence from the working place for the first year after the birth of a baby. But there were not enough day care places for children younger than three - in fact, the capacities covered no more than 18 percent of German toddlers. So von der Leyen won support and money to implement what Germans call a crib reform:
The Swedish model of combining day care and pre-school is rated as exemplary. Amazing as it may sound, former East Germany had a child care system that resembled the Swedish one in many ways. However, it did not survive the communist regime. Ursula von der Leyen explains how she handled that problem.