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Parenting Column(記事)

What is the educational style of Sweden, where 1 in 5 people have roots abroad?

Sweden, which is known as the welfare state, was one of the first countries in Europe to implement an immigration policy. As a result, 1 of 5 people in Sweden have roots in another country. Sweden is known for its multiculturalism and high quality of living. Let’s explore Sweden’s educational style.


Preschools and Outdoor Learning “Mulle” in Sweden

In 1998, kindergartens and daycares in Sweden merged to form preschools and came under the Ministry of Education’s jurisdiction. Previously, like in Japan, children with working mothers went to daycare and children with stay-at-home moms went to kindergarten. However, with the increase in working mothers the need for daycare has increased and the need for kindergarten has decreased. As a result, the government decided it was best to combine children under elementary school age and create preschools.
The target age for preschool is 1 year old to 6 years old. The majority of preschools have mixed age classes with a special class for 6 year olds to prepare them for elementary school life.

A main characteristic of preschools in Sweden is that the government provides a basic curriculum but leaves the detailed curriculum up to each school. This is because schools in larger cities and schools in the countryside are in different environments and can therefore provide different learning environments.

Also, the Swedish believe that all citizens have the right to enjoy nature and the government has included outdoor education in the standard curriculum. One example is “Mulle”, which is a outdoor program that takes place in the forest and allows children to experience nature and peer activities on a first-hand basis.


Respecting one’s roots through native language education

Sweden has a long history of accepting immigrants. As a result, currently 1 out of every 5 people in Sweden have roots in another country and they cover more than 200 nationalities.

To help these children integrate into the Swedish society as quickly as possible the government has implemented native language education. Children from the Middle East learn Arabic, children from Japan learn Japanese and all children spend 1-3 hours a week at school learning their native language at special schools set up by the government.

You may think that studying their native language is a strange way to help children integrate into the Swedish society. However, the child’s native language is a part of their identity and sense of pride. Children who have studied their native language do better at school than their counterparts who have not studied their native language.

At preschool, children learn about different cultures through play and vocabulary from their native language can play the role of a bridge between their country’s culture and the Swedish society.

During early childhood, play is more important than studying

Since Swedish early education is based on the German educator Frobel’s concept that play is the best way to encourage children’s development, there is a large emphasis on play rather than studying. This does not mean that children play amongst themselves and teachers watch on the sidelines. Instead, teachers are required to come up with age-appropriate play activities that encourage their development. This will allow children to learn through play and teachers to research based on what they see. In Swedish schools for older children, teachers and parents tend to value the learning process rather then the final grades. In Sweden, rather then working about getting a better grade than one’s peers, students are encouraged to think carefully about the issue and come up with their own findings and ideas from a young age.

Parenting Column(記事)

How can parents help their child(ren) discover their strengths?

It is important for parents to discover their child’s strengths so they can help them develop their talents. Many times children interests differ from their studies. If parents carefully guide their children through all topics (even those they find little value in), their child’s talents will blossom. In this article, we will introduce tips on how parents can discover their child’s strengths.


Following your child’s interests throroughly will help discover his/her strengths

What is your child interested in?
Bugs, dinosaurs, making mud balls, or collecting bugs, parents often have a hard time understanding children’s interests. When parents don’t show an interest in their child’s hobbies, children often assume that it is because they have little value from an adult’s standpoint.

For example, when Henri Fabre, who is famous for his book entitled “The Amazing World of Insects” was a child, he lived in an environment full of nature which caused him to become interested in insects. Henri Fabre came from a poor family and as a result of business failures, his family was broken up when he was 15 years old. When he grew up, his childhood interest in insects became his focus as a researcher.

When children are following their interests, like collecting insects or lining up blocks, it is important that parents do not get angry and tell them to study. Following their interests, even though they are not related to their studies, will help children gain concentration skills. So it is important for parents to accompany their children when they are following their interests and help them expand their interests.


Show an open mind toward your child

When children enjoy playing in their room rather than playing outside, many parents assume that their child doesn’t like sports and think about signing them up for English or piano lessons instead of soccer or gymnastics. This idea comes from the understanding that they do not want their child to attend lessons that they do not like.

However, their reason for not liking outside play may not be because they do not like sports but because they do not like playing in a group. Many children who do not like to play outside actually have good balance and are good at gymnastics and ball sports. Even if they dislike ground sports they may be good at swimming.

Just because they don’t like to play outside doesn’t mean that they don’t like to move their bodies. It is important to keep an open mind toward your child’s character and let them challenge themselves and help them discover their strengths.

Try to link their interests from childhood to their future

Few people are able to link their interests from childhood to their future job, like Fabre. However, it is not impossible.

For example, children who like dance may end up becoming a dancer or a dance instructor. Children who are interested in how bodies are composed and how to move one’s body may work in the medical field. Therefore, expanding your child’s interests will give them more choices when they grow up.

In addition to helping your child discover his or her interests, it is important for parents to encourage their children to take challenges and try new things in a fun environment. Classes for young children are a great way for them to expand their interests while having fun and making new friends.

Parenting Column(記事)

Which 8 brain functionalities should parents/teachers understand to implement MI Education?

The abbreviation “MI” has become popular in recent years. It is an abbreviation for “Multiple Intelligence” and refers to a learning method that focuses on each child’s talents and helps bring out their possibilities.

It is believed that Edison’s mother used this original learning method and she could bring out her son’s strengths. In this article we will introduce the “Multiple Intelligence Learning Method”, which has been proven to bring out children’s individual talents.


Understanding the “8 Functionalities” of the Brain

According to research done on MI, scientists have found that there are 8 separate functionalities of our brain. The key in bringing out a child’s talents is to discover his/her areas of specialty from these 8 brain functionalities.

1.Language Skills
Children who like talking, reading books and learning foreign languages often have strong language skills. These children often learn a lot from conversation, so it is effective to teach them through explanations.

2.Mathematical Skills
Of course, children who like numbers, who are interested in the reasons behind and process of things, or like discovering the regularity in things are often talented in math. For children who can predict what is going to happen and talk about it, it is recommended that parents spend time cooking with them, taking them to the science museum and help them learn by having lots of different experiences.

3.Spatial Awareness
Children who like puzzles, like to draw, and like “playing pranks” often have strong spatial awareness skills. Playing blocks and creating mazes with these children will help them develop their creative thinking skills.

4.Physical Skills
Children who are active and have a hard time sitting still often have strong physical skills. Attending dance classes and doing a lot of pretend play will help these children bring out their physical talents.

5.Musical Skills
Children who like music and songs are often talented in music. It is effective to give these children the opportunity to interact with music by listening to, dancing to and singing along with music. Taking them to live performances will also encourage their interest in music.

6.Interpersonal Skills
Children who like to talk to and spend time with friends often have strong social skills. It is important to give these children plenty of opportunities to play with friends and attend activities with their peers which help them improve their interpersonal skills.

7.Intrapersonal Skills
Children who enjoy playing by themselves and enjoy finding their own way to do things often have strong intrapersonal skills. These children are often not hiding in their shells but instead good at seeing their strengths and weaknesses from the third person. It is a good idea for parents to take advantage of this skill when raising this type of child. For example, make the best use of his/her alone time and make sure he/she has a special place to hide. This will help him/her feel more comfortable about himself/herself and promote his/her talents.

8.Naturalistic Skills
Children who like animals, bugs and leaves often have strong naturalistic skills. It is important for parents with this type of child to take them out in nature as much as possible.

Before trying to implement MI Education, it is important to understand what type of child you have and what his/her talents are. Please take the time to discover which of the 8 brain functionalities your child is talented in and work with him/her to improve his/her abilities.







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