I really enjoyed the Tarja’s lecture on education in Scandinavia. It was really interesting to see the differences between Sweden and Finland and the United States. One of the things I found really interesting was that they don’t even start school till they are six or seven years old. There isn’t that pressure to learn and read as soon as possible, which is how it is in the U.S. in most cases. And even though they have a ‘late’ start, they catch up and actually according to some international tests surpass Americans. Also, the fact that their college tuition is free amazes me. I feel like that is how it should be here. Everyone should have the same opportunity to go to a great school, whether or not you can afford to go to college shouldn’t be a problem. Another thing that the U.S. really needs to learn from Scandinavia is the benefit of being outdoors, and being active. I love how kids are basically kicked outside to play, no matter the weather. I really liked the encouragement of maternity leave and even paternity leave in Scandinavia. That is how it should be here as well, because I know of many people who feel like they have to plan out when it is most convenient in their job to have a baby and are fearful that when they go on leave they won’t have a job to go back to.
I went to a small private school outside of Chicago, and they do some things very similar to how they do it Scandinavia. Even though I started school at the age of 3, we had lots of naps and play-time. We also started studying a foreign language at 3 years of age. We were also forced to take Latin and art classes throughout elementary and middle school.
I feel like overall, the U.S. has a lot to learn from the education systems in Scandinavia. And I agree with Alex, college should be free!