If you live in Denmark, you can't possibly have missed the (mainly doom and gloom) coverage of the school reform. "The end of the world is nigh!" Well, we prefer to look at the changes with optimism.
First up, "heldagsskolen". All-day school. You have to take that with a pinch of salt, because Danish kids aren't really in school for that long at all. My DD12 (dear daughter, aged 12) used to be in school from 8am to around 1.35pm. The rest of the afternoon is normally spent at the school's 'after school club'. Now my kids will be at school a little longer: 33 hours per week for DD12, 35 hours for DS14 (dear son, aged 14).
At our school kids will be taught English from the age of 6 (as opposed to the current age of 9). Our local council has also decided to give kids their first taste of English at nursery and kindergarten. Amazing! A second language (my kids could choose German or French, both chose French) from the age of 11.
In addition to their regular Physical Education class, our kids will now do 45 minutes of some form of "movement" every day. We haven't had any details yet but there will certainly be climbing (our school has a climbing wall and several teachers who are certified instructors) and there was talk of bringing in, e.g. yoga teachers, during the lunchbreak.
One of the most controversial changes is that there will now be a Lektiecafé/Studietid (Homework Café/Study Hour) integrated into the schoolday. My kids think it's a great idea. DS14 had a similar system in his class last year and was glad to be able to do his homework during school hours, leaving his "free" time as "free" time. Or should I say computer time? ;) DD12 is looking forward to the café because there will be a teacher on hand to help with homework. The Danish political party "de Konservative" disagrees with plans to make the homework café obligatory and believes that kids should be able to "choose to do homework at home with mum and dad". Ha ha, I literally had to laugh out loud when I heard that! If I had 10 kroner for every time the subject of homework has come up at Parents' Meetings... A constant source of conflict between parent and child. Who wants to come home from football or piano and restart school stuff? My fellow parents would rather have their eyes gouged out with hot pokers than battle through any more maths problems! :P
As I said, we are positive. Bring on the changes!
So, there was a smile on my face as gave my kids a hug and waved them off on their bikes at 7.30am this morning. Birds tweeting, the sun shining - you get the picture. Only to hear the garden gate opening a couple of hours later, at 11.30am. "You're back already?", I cried. "Yep, we were let off early." Hmmm, so much for all-day school! ;)