Mariette here. I thought I´d add something to this blog by talking about looking for work here in Sweden. It is certainly different from in the US. Working as a nanny the last 7 years it seemed fairly logical that I would look for work with children. However, the post of “nanny” in Sweden is almost extinct. This is because each parent has a full year off after the baby comes and then daycare is close to free of charge. So daycare/preschools is where it is at.
In the US, the emphasis for any work with children is a clean record and good references. Here, the emphasis is on education. Bummer for me since I am not a trained teacher. (Too late for me to go back to school for 3.5 years, I would be too restless.) The government, though, has this push going of replacing all untrained staff in preschools with trained preschool teachers. Although there are many private preschools (that have less strict rules), they are also financed by the government and if the balance between trained-untrained personnel is too large, the government might put a stop to the funding. The government also does frequent inspections of the schools, including the private ones. Some typical topics of conversation after an inspection is how the inspectors measured the amount of bacteria in the sink and issued a big flunk or how the school needs to do more meaningful activities for the children. So, in reality the government is the driving force behind all preschools here, for good and bad.
One thing that is not interfered with though is the learning methods such as Montessori. However, every year the government issues a general learning plan and curriculum for all schools and it includes both guidelines to what the children should accomplish and rules such as; “every school must have a single hatted executive running it who does not have any other duties” and “the balance between trained and untrained personnel must not exceed 50/50” (actual requirements this year)
The exception to all the emphasis on education is substitute work which does not require any degrees and this is what I have been doing. I started by going around to the different private schools, introducing myself and leaving my references. Then the calls stared to come in and I have been working almost every day in September. This has been exciting in many ways. There is a HUGE difference between just touring a preschool and working at one.
But now I have my foot in with some good schools who like to use me and work has been lining up well. This week I will also be doing a trial at a nearby youth-center which I am looking forward to. And lo-and-behold — today I got in touch with a family looking for a part time nanny! They just flew in from Menlo Park so we were practically neighbors in the US. We will see how that turns out, but it is quite a coincidence. I must say that I like getting this insight into the different schools and methods. There are Montessori Schools here that have their own very set methods and modes of thought, the Christian schools, the government run schools and also a private school called Vittra that is free and wild and fun to work at. There is a lot to be said about these schools. I will keep you posted.
Final sobering thought from Dan: tomorrow is the autumnal equinox, if I remember correctly which means 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. After tomorrow, we start getting the short end for the next six months. I can feel my vitamin D levels crying out already.