It’s coming up for that time of year again! The new round of inskolning starts at förskolas all over Stockholm. If you don’t know what that is, well, you are in for a treat! Before S started her inskolning experience, M and I decided to keep a diary of the 3 days we spent at förskola…
…we survived, I guess that is the most important thing, right? Both S and I made it through. That sounds over dramatic and very intense but it’s how I felt about S starting pre-school or förskola.
I’m a “planner”. I love a good plan or schedule and I especially love to know what is going to happen, where and at what time. Boring, yes. Prepared, definitely. But for S starting förskola I had NOTHING to go on. We got a phone call in early July telling us which day to turn up and at what time and after that… nothing. Not even a letter with a list of stuff to bring. So, as you can imagine, I was beside myself. What made it worse was the fact that our friends were being invited to their chosen förskola for pre-meetings with teachers and to visit classrooms prior to their inskolning. ARGH!!
Nevertheless, our first morning came and S and I rocked up at our designated time and I looked like I had brought our entire house with us. I had 3 changes of indoor clothes, indoor shoes, socks, 2 different sets of outdoor gear, wellies, hats, gloves, a pillow, a blanket, dummies, lambie (sleep aid), nappies, nappy cream, wet wipes, a water bottle, a bib, snacks, and of course littlebear. Told you, I like being prepared…
Our welcome was wonderful, very warm, very open. I was greeted by all three classroom personnel and S didn’t even take the time to de-shoe before she was off and playing. PHEW, one potential disaster done and dusted. There were 6 new children joining this class out of a class of 10. It was wonderful meeting the kids who were going to be Stella’s future friends and their parents. I’m happy to say, they’re all lovely! So, for the first 2 hours they played, sang, danced and played some more and at 11am lunch was served and Stella was cranky and tired.
I’m not going to beat about the bush, lunch for us is never an easy task. Eating in general never goes well so I was prepared for the worst. S didn’t hold back.
A very interesting point about our förskola is that in the first year/class/age group everyone (age 1 – 3) is treated similarly i.e. our förskola expects them to be able to eat with knife and fork, drink using a “glass” and sit in a chair by themselves. S can just about feed herself using a spoon, but there is no chance she’s going to sit in a chair, use a knife and fork and drink from a “glass”. She was soaking and I was soaking. I had korv stroganoff and pizza salad in my hair and she was strutting around the room like a mini Mick Jagger. Possibly one of the most stressful feeding experiences I have ever had. Eventually, her teacher stepped in and handed her some knäckebröd and butter. Wooo hooo, gold star for parenting performance, NOT. I’d rather have stabbed the fork that Stella was brandishing in my eye than repeat that again. I just kept thinking to myself, “come Monday none of this will be your problem anymore.” Hopefully.
Next task… getting her to sleep in a room full of kids who are also trying to get to sleep. IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!!! and stressful. They had a small room full of mini mattresses and each kid had their own spot with a pillow and a blanket. It is super cosy, but totally alien to a kid who has never had to fall asleep in a room with other kids before. So, she screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and it was a nightmare. I felt awful, not for her, but for the 9 other kids trying to fall asleep and the 5 other parents trying to get their kid to fall asleep, too. It was horrific. And the staff did NOTHING…they just let it happen. After 45 minutes of coaxing and “shusshing” and rocking and quietly singing I gave up. She started playing and I went and got coffee…and I sat in the staffroom and had coffee for an hour. She never even noticed I was gone. WIN…sort of.
So, at the end of day 1 there were good points and bad points. I don’t have anything profound or very deep to say about the experience other than it was exhausting and I’m glad we’re past it. Tomorrow my other half will be doing the inskolning and he’ll be writing a few words about his experience. I’ve already wished him good luck…
If you’d like to know more about surviving Sweden with kids, check out Littlebearabroad.com. There you can read more about Jill’s family life and the multi-cultural adventure of raising a family in a foreign country. If you’d like to know more about preschools, finding out information about particular preschools, check out Littlebearabroad’s guide to schools in Sweden.