Öppna förskolor (open preschools) offer an opportunity for parents to entertain their children in a fun, safe and educational environment. The schools are appropriate for little ones, aged 0 to 5 years and provides social experiences for children and parents alike. Best of all, you can enjoy öppna förskolor as many times as you want for free.
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Since most parents in Sweden take over a year off from work to stay home with babies during maternity/paternity leave, öppna förskolor were created to help provide daytime entertainment for their children. Parents benefit as well since, by meeting other mothers and fathers in similar circumstances, they can form friendships and find other helpful resources for early child-rearing.
The preschools have craft rooms, baby areas, toddler areas and kitchens with a variety of toys including cars, trains, little slides, climbing toys, crawling tunnels, balls, play kitchens, dolls, block puzzles, animals, riding toys, and more. Tables and highchairs for provided for feeding children. Most schools have a refrigerator for baby food and coffee for parents. The majority of playtime is free play, where the child and parent can play with anything available. There are special times for organized crafts, baking, songs, and even excursions to museums, playgrounds, and farms. There are also special periods reserved for specific age- groups such as just 0-1 year olds.
Öppna förskolor provide a wonderful opportunity for foreigners to meet peers, practice their Swedish, and gain resources and information about child-rearing in Sweden. Song times can be especially helpful for parents and children to learn Swedish through the nursery rhymes. Some preschools offer special international times where foreigners are encouraged to come and socialize. People who regularly attend these international times have created a community with other ex-pats that extend outside the walls of öppen förskola.
Most öppna förskolor are run by the government and available throughout each municipality. Some of the preschools are run privately in churches or through other organizations. All government run schools are free of charge while some private ones charge a small fee (although all seem to offer the first visit for free). Most are open weekdays with times ranging from 09:00 until 16:00 depending on the location and the day. They are staffed by one or two teachers who are often very friendly and willing to help connect parents to resources. Locations and schedules of öppna förskolor can be found on municipality websites. A few links are listed below:
Stockholm Stad page:
Solna Stad page:
Sollentuna Kommun Page:
Täby Kommun page:
Danderyd Kommun page:
Recommended Öppna Förskolor:
Frälsningsarmén Vasakåren (Salvation Army) öppna förskola at Observatoriegatan 4, Odenplan in Stockholm on Tuesdays from 13-17, followed by family dinner at 17 (20 SEK per person)
Filadelfia Kyrkan öppna förskola at Rörstrandsgatan 5, Birkastan in Stockholm on Wednesdays from 9-13
Danderyds öppna förskola at Slånbärsvägen 1, Danderyd on Thursdays from 9-12 (International focus)
Träffpunkt Enebyberg öppna förskola at Eneby torg, at Alvägen 20B, Eneyberg on Fridays from 9-12 (International focus)
Hogalids Hedgehogs English Speaking öppna förskola at Högalids Kyrkvägen 11, Södermalm on Fridays from 14-17
Articles and photos by Jessica Larson