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Trust - Open Door Policy

Schools have an ‘open-door’ policy where kids can come and go. There are no fences like in many other countries. At many schools there is a coloured line painted on the pavement, indicating where the school boundaries lie. Children are taught where the school bounderies are and staff and parents trust children not to pass them.

The 'open-door' policy also means that you can accompany your child all the way into the classroom in the morning. This is also the ideal moment to have a short chat with other parents.

 

Flat hierarchy

The educational approach in Denmark avoids class rankings and formal tests, instead the emphasis is on problem-solving, and children are taught to work in groups. Thus, informal relations are practiced in which teachers and school staff is called by their first names. The staff will also call you by your first name.

 

Academic Year

The academic year runs from mid August to the end of June. Some of the typical holidays are autumn break in week 42, Christmas holidays, spring break in week 7, Easter holidays, bank holidays and 6 weeks of summer holidays.

Your school's SFO will be open during (most of) the school holidays. Make sure to get information on the SFO's opening hours during holidays at your local school.

 

Take Part

Your child is not the only one starting in school – you do too! You can get involved in your child’s school at different levels Skolebestyrelse, forældreråd, klasseråd, forældreråd i SFO. In the beginning of the school year the different councils are elected.

You will be mainly in touch with the class parents’ council. A group of 3 to 4 parents in your class that commit to organizing after school events for children and parents to get to know each other. Remember that your children – and thereby you and the other parents – are ‘stuck’ together for the next 10 years. It is crucial to create a positive and open atmosphere. Example: an afternoon at the beach, an afternoon carving pumpkin, parents party (no children allowed) …

 

Contact Person

The Headmaster does not get involved in daily life at school. The class teacher is the person to talk to when you have concerns about your child’s academic progress, social life in class etc.  This is contrary to other countries. Both teachers and staff in the SFO take their time to have an informal talk with you on an everyday basis. If it is a more urgent matter you will be invited for a meeting.

You will be invited for 1 to 2 meetings annually to discuss your child’s social and academic achievements and challenges. The meeting lasts no longer than 20 minutes and will usually take place in the late afternoon.

 

Absence from School

You notify the teacher through Aula and not the school's headmaster if your child is ill. In case you are travelling to your home country and your child will be absent outside of the school holidays, you need to have a dialogue with the teacher (not the school's headmaster).
If your child has more than 15 % absence from school throughout one quarter, and if the absence is unaccounted for, then you might not receive child benefit the coming quarter.

 

Cooperation: school-home

In order to achieve the best possible social and academic development the school works closely together with the parents. First of all, it is all about creating a good connection between the parents as it rubs off on the children’s behavior. A good relationship with the teachers and pedagogues is also crucial. Through dialogue, you can learn how to support your child in the best possible way.

Sometimes the school needs help and you can volunteer. E.g. joining a field trip when they need an extra hand, driving kids to a field trip, baking buns. When necessary, you will get notified through the online platform Aula.

 

Equipment for School

When children start in grade 0 they will only need basic equipment. Do keep in mind that this is a transition year from kindergarten to school with high emphasis on social skills.

In Denmark getting your very first school bag is a strong tradition highlighting the change from kindergarten to school life. When buying a school bag, you do not need one that can hold many books. Do keep in mind that your child will need to carry up to 3 lunchboxes (morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack) and a water bottle though. Your child will also need a pencil case and a gym bag. Remember to label every single item, as things will get lost.

 

Chromebook

In Aarhus Municipality all pupils from grade 2 and upwards work with a Chromebook at school. The teachers decide when the use of the IT equipment is relevant. The Chromebook is at your disposal by the Municipality when your child attends folkeskole. This allows the children to have access to IT equipment. The purpose is not for the children to spend more time in front of the screen, but to give all students equal opportunities to learn both in school and at home. 

 

Digital Communication

The main communication platform is called Aula. Aula facilitates the interactions between school and home. It is influencing the everyday life of more than 2 million users. You will find contact information on staff and pupils, receive messages from the teachers, interact with the other parents etc. You can access Aula online and it is advisable to download the app and turn on notifications. The platform is in Danish and you can expect all communication to be in Danish.

The teachers will introduce you and your children to different online platforms that are used in class, such as Momo, ereolen, matematikfessor etc.

 

Homework

There is no or almost no homework. Especially not in indskoling (from grade 0 to grade 3). Many schools have incorporated homework classes in the curriculum, where the teacher assists pupils with their homework.

 

Playgroup

The class teacher, in close cooperation with the class’s parents’ council, will divide children into groups of app. 5 pupils. It is expected that you invite the group home for a playdate. The groups are formed to ensure that children who don’t play that much together get to know each other better and that no one feels left alone.

When inviting other children home for a playdate, it is normal for you to take the children home on your own, without the other parents being present. You agree with the other parents when to pick up their child at your house. 

 

Birthdays

Usually the parents decide together on how birthdays are dealt with. In Denmark it is customary to either invite the entire class or either the girls or the boys for birthday celebrations.

In grade 0 it might be an option to do this together with the SFO pedagogue who will join the kids for the party. Presents are small and parties are simple. Sometimes parents arrange games or small treasure hunts for the children. Danes do not hire entertainers, such as clowns or the like, for a birthday party. The food is simple, such as a sausage or pizza roll and a birthday cake.

In some classes parents decide to organize the party together, e.g. 3-4 parents celebrating their childrens' birthdays together. Remember that when there are 25 kids in a class, they will need to attend many parties. Presents are app. 20-30 kr. - the amount will be decided together by the parents and will not vary from party to party.

When inviting children home for a birthday party, it is normal for you to host the children on your own without the childrens' parents present. You agree with the other parents when to pick up their child at your house. Often you invite parents for a coffee or beer when picking up their child.

 

Skolemælk

You can opt to sign up for school milk, so your child gets a small carton of milk every day as a source of calcium. You will get information on this service and price at the beginning of the school year through Aula.

 

 

 

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