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What parents in Norway need to know about SFO

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
What parents in Norway need to know about SFO
Here's what parents in Norway need to know about SFO. Pictured is a child drawing. Photo by Lucas Alexander on Unsplash

Children in the first two grades in Norway receive a free part-time place in an afterschool program (SFO). So, how does Norway’s afterschool program work, and what do you need to know?


What is SFO?

SFO is an afterschool program offered by local authorities to children in primary school in Norway. Places are offered to children in the first to fourth years of primary school. Children with special educational needs and learning disabilities are offered places for longer.

Local municipalities are responsible for ensuring an SFO offer for children living in the area.

The afterschool programs may or may not be affiliated with or run by a school. In instances where an afterschool program is run by a school, the head teacher or senior management at the school is responsible for the running of the afterschool program.

However, even though the afterschool program may be run or affiliated with a school, it will not be a part of the school or the national curriculum. The

Norwegian government states that the afterschool program must be something other than school or kindergarten.

Afterschool programs benefit kids because it is an environment to play and hang out, and they help parents as it means that their child is cared for while they are at work.

There is no requirement for the employees at the SFO to be teachers, but all staff are subject to a background check from the police.

How does it work?

Some of the rules may change from area to area as local authorities can implement their own practices. Essentially, parents will need to register their child at an afterschool centre. By law, no rules say that children have a right to a place; in short, you may not be able to get your child admitted into the afterschool activities provider of your choice as they may be full.

Typically, admissions for children take place in the spring, and the child will have a spot until August (the beginning of a new school year in Norway). Parents can typically apply all year round, however.

Many SFOs close their doors for the summer and other holiday periods in Norway.


They are incredibly popular, with more than 75 percent of first and second-year students attending; however, from there, the number drops off sharply, with less than 30 percent of year-four students attending an afterschool activities program.

How much does it cost?

Parents will need to pay fees for an SFO spot. Unlike kindergarten, the state hasn’t set a limit on what can be charged. There may be local rules which put a cap on prices. The average monthly fee for a full-time spot is 2,300 kroner. Although spots can cost up to 4,000 kroner at some providers.

Meanwhile, a part-time SFO spot costs around 1,600 kroner per month. These prices may or may not include the price of food at the SFO.


Children in the first and second year of primary school will receive a free part-time SFO place from August. Since last year, children in the first year have received a free part-time place. A part-time place is the equivalent of 12 hours a week. This change could save households up to 20,000 kroner per year, according to government estimates.

What do children do?

It will depend on the SFO itself, but the aim of the afterschool programs is to offer out-of-school care but also to facilitate play, cultural and leisure activities based on the age, interests and functional level of the children participating.

For the very youngest children, this will mean lots of play, games and arts and crafts. Some SFOs will also have field trips and the like too. Others may put together shows and concerts, too. It’s typical for many a parent’s fridge in Norway to be adorned with paintings and drawings a child has made at SFO.

Parents can get in touch with an SFO to learn more about the activities offered. Kids will need a lunchbox and water bottle and rainwear, boots and wool clothes for when the weather is less than perfect outside. In addition, kids should keep a spare set of comfortable clothes, indoor shoes and a backpack for any field trips.


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