Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Danish Kids (also, an update)

It's been ridiculous recently, sorry I haven't been posting.

As you may or may not know, I was in Brussels, the Hague, and Amsterdam all last week, so my internet access was unreliable at best.  Lessons I learned on that trip:
  • Even most EU citizens are confused about what the EU does
  • Sharing a room with 11 other people is detrimental to my ability to sleep
  • A man with a faucet on his head isn't normal, but in Amsterdam it is
Also, I learned that somehow, in spite of being like one-tenth its size, Copenhagen Kastrup Airport is substantially more confusing than Amsterdam-Schipol Airport.  But that's another story for another day.  And by "another day," I mean we're never going to discuss it again.

Today, we took a tour of the Danish Parliament, the Folketing.  Admittedly, I'd done this before, but it was kind of cool to get one from a prominent Parliamentarian and we ended up talking about our impressions of Denmark - namely Danish attitudes towards children.

Which is what I thought I'd talk to you all about today.  The Danes have a very different idea about children and childhood than we have in the States.  Children are given a lot of freedom - I've seen 6 or 7 year olds riding the Metro alone or in small groups, and apparently in a kindergarten class one of my friends is working with, the students are given a lot more free choice about what they're going to do with their time.

The stereotypical example is that Danish mothers will often leave baby carriages (with the babies inside) outside of stores and cafes while they go inside, because the likelihood that your child will get kidnapped in Copenhagen is unfathomably small.

But I just think the level of independence and choice they give children is really interesting.  We structure the lives of children so much to help and protect them, but from what I can see, Danish kids seem to do pretty well on their own.

Pedagogically? yours,
Rachel Leigh

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