fredag 11 september 2009

"Open Preschool"

Today was different. BB turned 6 months. We didn't make the goal of exclusive breastfeedinf since we have been doing baby led weaning and for two weeks and she's tried advocado, banana, parsnip, carrot etc.

Me and BB went to what would literaly translate into "Open Preeschool" today. In our part of town there are two of them. We live in concrete suburbia (1), Biskopsgården (2) and the "Open Preeschools" are at two different squares: Friskväderstorget & Vårväderstorget.

Open Preeschool is better described as an open/free communal day-time activity center for families with children 0-5 on a drop in basis. You decide when you want to go there, and you only stay for as long as you want to and partake of the activities that suit you and the child you bring the best.

At this particular one you could take part in cooking groups, they often had baby and toddler music-time, a pediatric nurse from the health center comes to visit once a week, there is a room for sewing, one for playing and they have a LOT of exciting, learning toys. I found the toys to be very ungendered. There was a computer in their "quiet room".
They also engage the visitors in Nordic walking (3) and had just bought new poles.

They had a regular staff of two women, aged about 55 who told me they grew up around here and both started working at the preschool near my house in the 1970:ies. There was also a woman there who said she used to "Fika" there to train her swedish. The coffee was 2 SEK,
0.28 dollars, just so they could buy more. You could bring any food you liked and cook or heat it in the kitchen if you wanted to.

I had called in advance and they told me they currently had no visitors because of Ramadan (4)
BB was excited, a looked around in amazement at the big, well lit rooms. Then they prepared a soft playmat on the floor for her and picked out some age apropriate toys for her to gnaw on. I sat on the floor and talked to the women about organic meat, free range animals, farming, the politics of food untill BB became hungry. Then I just pulled up my dress and nursed her sitting on the sofa. No one battered an eye. The staff had passed my test.

Then we went home, she fell asleep in the Patapum babycarrier and when she woke up we nursed and had some lunch, which for her meant some majskrokar and pieces off advocado.

It'll be interesting the next time, or after Ramadan to meet the other parents. Half my collegues are from Iran, but most of them are secular, even if they d celebrate Ramadan & Eid ul-Fitr  (5). I expect some to be christian, some to be secular muslims and some to be different kinds of muslims. I've seen some rastafarians around too, and on wednesday I swear I saw an older Pastafarian (6) woman.

So it's free and anonymous (you only tell them your first name). You are responsible for the children you bring, they wont normally baby-sit, since it's not day care.

In sweden, the goverment doesn't provide day care for children under one year since we get parent money and are supposed to look after our own children. For those who have family or friends they trust they are used only as baby sitters occasionaly, some very rich people use nannies & au pairs, and since a recent tax reform it's become possible to get nanny-service through some companies and get a tax reduction on it, but that is a subject for a totally different post.

With lots of love.... Karin.


3 kommentarer:

  1. Wow, what a wonderful program!

    I've never heard of anything like that in the US.

  2. Just found your great blog yesterday!

    We have something similar here (I'm from Germany), called a "family center", where open breakfast/coffee meetings, playgroups and similar events are hosted. As in your "open preschool", you may come and leave whenever you like and just sit there, play, meet other parents and children. I love going there.
    BTW, my son is now almost 7 and 1/2 months, and we also do baby led weaning - loving it! He loves it, too.

  3. Nice to hear you have Family Centers! It does sound similar, yes!
    Yes, we're basically doing baby led weaning, but I do worry about nutrition...