A Swedish Förskola

1 February 2012 · 5 comments

in Early Years Outdoors, International, Outdoor Play

This is a long overdue guest post. Last September, Malin Blomster, who lives and works in the Stockholm area, in a suburb just south of the actual city, sent these photos and text. She was keen for the blogging world to see a typical early years establishment in Sweden that is not an “I Ur och Skur” outdoor school.

Essentially this post is a photo gallery. I think the photos speak many words and demonstrate the clear commitment in Sweden to child-centred play outdoors.

The resources are  frequently open-ended. Many are natural materials gathered. Other loose parts are household items that are given a second-life at nursery.

The photos also show the variety of surfaces, nooks, crannies and different places the children learn and play. I like the traces of play – the areas where wear and tear can be seen which provide the evidence that children enjoy being here. All-in-all I hope they give you a good flavour of this förskola…

And some ideas for adapting and extending practice where you work or with your own children at home…

The text in italics and all photos are Malin’s…

“I work at a “förskola”. I don’t really know the correct translation (if there is one) preschool, nursery, kindergarten, daycare? The children I work with are between 1 and 6 years old.

Förskola is a part of the education system here in Sweden but the teaching and learning is supposed to be play based. Children in Sweden begin “real” school in August the year they turn six.

Förskola is not mandatory but almost all Swedish children attend, the cost is partly subsidized by the government.

We are open 06.30-18.00; the majority of children are there between 8am and 4pm.

We serve breakfast, lunch, fruit and an afternoon snack.

The place I work at is fairly small; we have an average of about 60 children and 9 teachers. This is about “normal” staff/child ratio in general here at the moment.

We work with inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach and put emphasis on the children’s own competence and capability.

We have different areas and activities set up both inside and outside to challenge different age groups but we also encourage the children to mix because we strongly believe that they can learn from one another, that they learn together.

All children spend several hours outside every day no matter what weather it is. The youngest children takes their naps in strollers outside under a roof, we put them in sleeping bags and fleece clothing during the cold months.


Think that’s it for now! 🙂

Thank you Malin. The photo tour has been fantastic!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy McLaughlin February 1, 2012 at 00:37

Has everyone seen the TeachersTV documentary comparing Swedish preschool to UK early years education?
3 parts starting here:



Juliet Robertson February 1, 2012 at 07:32

I have seen one documentary but I don’t think it’s a comparative one. Thanks very much for leaving this link Andy.


Kierna C February 1, 2012 at 20:44

Brilliant Juliet, thanks so much for sharing. I love the pic of the little boy over the water on the 2 planks – can you imagine that happening here?! Kierna


Malin February 1, 2012 at 22:56

Kierna, it’s actually a girl! 😀 She was about 2 years old and she had to try several times before she made it across. Eventually placing the planks right next to eachother was her solution that time…

And thank you too for sharing so much from your school, I find it a great sourse of insiration looking around on all the blogs about outdoor play!


Juliet Robertson February 2, 2012 at 08:53

Thanks Kierna and Malin for your comments. I’ve just been visiting a nursery that gets flooded in the rain and happens to have some wooden pallets.


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