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‘Barnehage’: How good are Norwegian kindergartens according to parents?

Over 90 percent of children in Norway attend a 'barenhage', or preschool, and figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Education have revealed how satisfied parents are with kindergartens.

A preschool
Parents have had their say on whether preschools in Norway are any good. Pictured is a preschool. Photo by Gautam Arora on Unsplash

In Norway, almost all children attend a preschool between the ages of one and five, with more than 5,000 of them dotted around the country.

Due to the importance of kindergartens in Norway, parents and prospective parents will want to know whether they are any good or not, especially since they can charge just over 3,000 kroner a month for a spot.

Figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Education have revealed parents’ thoughts on what’s good and what can be worked on when it comes to the country’s preschools.

The good

Overall, parents are largely satisfied with the country’s daycares. 61 percent of parents who responded to the education authority’s survey said they were very satisfied, and 31 percent said they were fairly happy. Meanwhile, only two percent said they were dissatisfied.

Parents are especially pleased with the child’s well being and the quality of the staff available. 97 percent said they were confident in the staff working at preschools and that kindergarten benefited their child.

The directorate also pointed to a survey from 2021 that showed that parents in Norway were generally happier with kindergarten in Norway than the other Nordics.

Of the more than 120,000 parents that took part in the survey, those with the youngest children were happiest with kindergartens in the country.

In addition to the staff’s competence, parents were also impressed with how the system for picking up and dropping their children off worked.

The less positive

While parents were, on the whole, pleased with kindergarteners, there were some areas where satisfaction was slipping, or where there could be room for improvement.

Parents were less happy with hygiene practices in preschools than they were last year. Hygiene satisfaction dipped from 88 percent compared to 85 percent the before.

Additionally, only seven out of ten were happy with the kindergartens’ food. The year before, only 62 percent were content with food in preschools.

Another area where parents think kindergartens can be improved is the number of staff available. 16.5 percent of respondents said they were not satisfied with teacher numbers.

Newspaper VG has reported that around 30 percent of preschools face staff shortages. Preschools are required to have at least one teacher with the correct pedagogical qualifications per 7 children under the age of three or one per 14 children over the age of three.

Tonje Brenna, education minister, told VG that the government was working to improve the ratio of kindergarten leaders to kids.

“It (the statistics) just means that we must intensify the work to increase the proportion of educators in kindergartens. The municipal economy has been strengthened in this year’s state budget, but we must do more to approach fulfil the requirements,” Brenna told VG.

One more thing worth noting is that parents were around five percent less satisfied with toys, equipment and activities offered at preschools run by municipalities than with privately run kindergartens.  

What you need to know about barnehage in Norway

Barnehage, literally meaning kindergarten, are run privately or by the municipality. Regardless of whether they are run privately or by local authorities, preschools cannot charge more than 3,050 kroner per month for a place.

Additionally, there are many different types of kindergartens that cater to specific needs. For example, there is everything from half-day to open-air operations that focus on outdoor learning.

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New laws: What you need to know about owning a dog in Norway 

Norway’s parliament has agreed on a proposal which will put more responsibility on dog owners. Here’s what else you need to know about owning a pooch in the Scandinavian country.

New laws: What you need to know about owning a dog in Norway 

On Wednesday, Norway’s parliament agreed on several proposed law changes to Norway’s Dog Act which owners will need to be aware of. 

The tightening of the act will see more responsibility put on owners. Under the changes to the act, owners will be responsible for ensuring that dogs are prevented from being put into situations where they could harm people, other animals, property, or things. 

Owners will also be required to have the necessary competence and knowledge of the dog’s needs, breed and natural instincts and ensure the dog is adequately trained. 

The decision to destroy dogs that attack people or other animals will still lie with the police. The responsibility for paying kennel fees if the dog is seized will remain with the owner, something the Norwegian Kennel Club is critical of, public broadcaster NRK writes

However, the kennel club did welcome the changes, which it believes will see dogs better cared for by owners than before. 

This isn’t the only law pet owners need to be aware of though 

Bringing a dog to Norway 

You can bring a dog to Norway from another country, but there are several entry requirements. Dogs needing to have a microchip, rabies vaccinations and tapeworm treatments are among the main ones. The rules will differ whether the pet comes from inside or outside the EU. 

Typically, hounds from outside the EU will need a health certificate, whereas animals from inside the EU will require a pet passport. Pets brought to Norway from other countries need to be at least three-months-old. 

For a complete overview of the rules that apply to you, you should check in with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority

Certain breeds are banned

It is against the law to own certain breeds that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority considers dangerous. These are: 

  • The Pit Bull Terrier 
  • The American Staffordshire Terrier 
  • The Fila Brasileiro 
  • The Tonso Inu 
  • The Dogo Argentino 
  • The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog 

Wolf-dog hybrids and dogs bred and trained specifically for protection are also banned. The police will either deport dogs it deems dangerous or destroy them. 

In a recent ruling, the Oslo district court banned the breeding of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and English Bulldogs over concerns that the distinctive features they are known for causes them suffering. 

READ MORE: Norway bans breeding of bulldogs and cavaliers

Leash laws

Also in the Dog Act is the “leash law”. This sets out when dogs should be on a lead and where. From the beginning of April until August 20th, dogs must be kept leashed unless in a dog park. 

The rule is to protect local wildlife during the birthing, nesting and mating seasons. 

Some municipalities have rules about keeping dogs on a lead in housing areas, and others have regulations about animals being leashed while cross country skiing in areas with prepped tracks. 

The most likely rule for being caught breaking the leash law will be a reminder to keep your dog on a lead or a fine.

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