Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our Swedish daycare does not lock its doors

Schooling in the US these days seem light years away from what I grew up with. These days there are locks on the doors, metal detectors, sign-in desks, ID cards, registered visitors and a ton of other security measures that makes the schools sound less like places to gain knowledge and more like prisons.

Little Swede’s preschool has a door that opens directly to the outside world. It is never locked if they are in the classroom. If they leave the classroom, they lock that door and post a sign saying which room you can find them in. This door is also unlocked.

If someone else is picking up Little Swede I just tell them at the beginning of the day. The people who pick them up have never had to show ID.

There are playgrounds with lots of low trees. On any given day you may walk by and see some of the older kids climbing these trees.

Sometimes I bring friends or family to pick up the kids. Sometimes they go on long walks. They get to know people in the local community – the local librarians, the cafeteria cooks, the people who work at the grocery store.

Some of the kids scream at the passers-by – “Vem är du?’ they ask over and over again. No one tells them not to talk to strangers.

I am grateful for this. I hope it lasts a bit longer. I don’t want my child to be afraid of everything that moves. I don’t want to be afraid. I don’t want to lock my child up.

That said, the other day, one of Little Swede’s friends saw me outside the pre-school and swung the door open shouting ‘Little Swede! Your Mama is here!’ (but in Swedish of course). And that is a whole other can of worms now that the kids are tall enough to reach the oddly positioned door handles. I can totally imagine this kid (who is totally fab in every way and very persuasive) leading a mass preschool exodus while the teachers are looking the other way.  I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there.


  1. I think we are sort of halfway between the two, over here in England, and I find it very sad. Not only have I seen my childrens' schools become more security conscious over the years, I have also seen the schools where my husband works as a teacher become harder to get into. Where he is now, and my son also, is in the depths of the country and actually there is little security at this one, but even some of the schools in the countryside have been very hard to get into. The schools would tell the door codes to the children, and then tell them not to tell their parents, but if you have a child who is always leaving clothes and homework and musical instruments behind not being able to go searching is a nightmare, so I became very good at getting codes out of my son, slipping quietly into schools and frantically rummaging for games kit and ballet costumes. Replacement padlocks for lockers have cost me a fortune, they always lose the keys. Let's hope it stays as free as it is now, for you and your children.

  2. Sorry for the off-topic post, but I wasn't able to find any other place to post a comment.

    Thanks a lot for writing this blog. I found it a few weeks ago and now I've read almost every post. As a Swede, your posts give me great perspective on my own culture. Sometimes I agree wholehartedly, sometimes I disagree but most often my reaction is more along the lines of "I've never thought of that, but you are right."

    1. Thanks, that is a huge compliment. And I do enjoy a bit of disagreement here and there, as I consider this blog a great way for me to learn how others interpret these situations as well! Thanks for reading,

  3. What happens when children talk to strangers :)