Education in Denmark starts early. Most children at the age of 6 months start attending their first form of child care and an introduction into the Danish education system.
No formal teaching is allowed until the age of 6 years, but the Danes believe strongly that being around other children and integrating is important.
So children in child care will be exposed to personal development skills, language skills, social skills, nature, movement and cultural values. This is regarded as a form of education in Denmark.
First thing to know is that you MUST have a CPR Number, before you can register your children in any form of education in Denmark or child care services.
Each kommune is responsible for placing children in the appropriate places.
You can find the rules on each kommunes website under børnepasning, pasning or skole.
Rules will vary from kommune to kommune, yet these are general guidelines which should serve you well.
Since children can enroll in child caring services at 6 months of age, most Danes register their children right after they are born to insure the best places. You should have your child register before their 4th month birthday.
Of course, if you have just arrived in Denmark, register as soon as you have your CPR number. There is usually a waiting list.
There is a "pasningsgaranti" in Denmark, which means all children are guaranteed a right to a place in a child care service until they are able to start school.
You have to go to your local kommune and register your child. At that time you can choose up to 3 child care services and will be put on the waiting list. The kommune will try to get you a place at one of your choices, but some places have long waiting lists.
When you can not get into a child care service, than the kommune will actually pay you to stay home and watch your own children or set you up with a child minder or nanny if necessary.
The government has said that waits should be no longer than 3 months and most people I have talked to have not waited any longer.
Child care is not free and depending on where you live you can expect to pay up to 3000 kroner per month per child.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of privately run day cares and schools, especially in smaller communities. When kommunes decide to close them down, the inhabitants of the area will decide to start their own schools and daycares instead of having the children driven far away to attend school.
The first form of education in Denmark, that your children will be exposed to is when they enter vuggesture.
The "vuggestue" is pronounced "vogue -ga- stew", which is for children ages 6 months to 3 years of age.
After that your child will move into a børnehave or kindergarten which is for children ages 3 to 6 years of age.
After the age of 6, children start attending "Folkeskole" in their local kommune. You can apply for a school outside your kommune.
There are 3 levels of schooling.
Grades 0-3 (where 0 is actually kindergarten and the children get a chance to integrate into a new school system)
Schools will vary greatly from what you find in America and the UK. Teaching is done a bit more loosely and in teams.
For example Grades 4-6 will be taught by a team of teachers who each have the freedom to choose their own textbooks, materials and methods of teaching. There are no official grades as you find in US schools. It is not until the 8th grade where grades are officially given and than in grade 9 the students take their final exams.
After final exams, students can choose to contiue their education for another 3 years and take their A-Levels ( studentereksamen) or go to a trade school /apprenticeship(ungdomsuddannelse).
After that you can continue to go to University or higher education.
Since most parents work to support a family there are options for afterschool care for children. Children go directly from their school to after school facilities.
Fritidshejem for Grades 1-4. Also known as SFO
Fritidsklub for Grades 5-6. Also know as a SFO-Klub
and finally the
Ungdomsklub for children in grades 7-9.
These places are usually open from when school lets out to about 5 pm. Some stay open a bit later, but the norm is between 5- 6 pm.
If you wish to expand your choice of education in Denmark, check out the International Education in Denmark .
There are lots of International Schools throughout Denmark, tho most are found close to Copenhagen.