Denmark: Kindergarten to teach English

A magnet school is supposed to attract better students, on the one hand, but if there are 75% of children from a foreign background, wouldn't it make more sense to focus on Danish?

A Jutland school in Århus is carving a reputation for itself by introducing English in kindergarten Gone are the days when children in kindergarten merely finger-paint and play with toys. An Århus institution has begun teaching English to children in kindergarten.

The Århus municipality has allocated funding to English instruction at both Sødalskolen and nearby Skåde Skole. The schools are implementing English in kindergarten on a trial basis and students who progress to first and second grade following summer break will continue English instruction.

'Some 75 percent of the children have a foreign background, and that's why we will be focusing on English as a specialisation subject. We would like to ensure that children have the opportunity to participate in a multicultural and globalised world where English is the main language,' said Susanne Berg, principal of Sødalskolen, to public service broadcaster DR.

Sødalskolen is one of eight magnet schools in Århus, which receives special funding from the municipality. The magnet school model was introduced to discourage children from moving to schools with a more homogenous composition of students.

'We have expanded the number of hours of English instruction at all grade levels, and we believe in the value of giving children the opportunity to incorporate English into their lives at an early age. They already encounter it in several facets of their everyday life,' said Berg.

The National Kindergarten Association that organises kindergartens has expressed scepticism about the idea. They have expressed concern that the time spent on English instruction would take away from other classes or activities. In the past the association has also opposed introducing more rigid schedules in kindergarten.

Source: Jyllands Posten (English)

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