Sat, Dec 07, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Denmark: one of best countries for working families

Denmark’s universal nursery care is worth emulating, as is the Danish cultural norm of giving kids responsibilities and freedoms

By Nicola Witcombe  /  The Guardian, COPENHAGEN

The emphasis here is, of course, on the child being self-sufficient and a member of a group — dressing and sitting at the table properly, and being a good playmate. Adult-led, structured activities occur but are relatively infrequent. Again, this seems a far cry from the American focus on didactic activities at every turn, even when watching television.

So, it is not only the legislated rules and expenditure that has made Denmark one of the best for working families. Two other vital factors include the almost universal acceptance of an element of risk, and the concept of free play. If, say, America were to consider introducing more accessible childcare mirrored on the Danish model, it would certainly have some questions to answer first, like “would I allow my three-year-old child to go sledding with minimal supervision?” And if so, who’s supposed to remember his gloves?

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