More one-year olds in Sweden are registered for preschool than before. Last year nearly half of the country’s 1-year olds were registered – an increase with 17% since 2005. Says Kristin Lenberg, a mom of a 1.5-year old girl: “I think it’s positive if the children start early.” The preschools are getting crowded: Last year 55,799 one year olds were enrolled in preschools around Sweden, which is 49.3% of all children in this age group. Statistics from Skolverket (the Swedish National Agency for Education), show that this is a new trend: In 2005, 42% of all one year olds were registered for preschool, and since then there’s been a steady increase of 17% until 2012. Daily DN called a number of preschools around the country, and many of the people they talked to felt parents were too quick to put enroll their little ones. “There are very young children at the preschool today,” said Ann Fatton, chairwoman at the Grodan preschool in Stockholm. “My feeling is that parents nowadays enroll their children much earlier.” One explanation might be that the enrollments are concentrated around the late summer, and that it’s difficult to get into preschool. Therefore many parents choose to enroll their children during late summer since that means more choices. According to Skolverket the increase of 1-year olds in preschools has to do with new rules.
“There have been some changes. More children are eligible for preschool than before. Also children of parents who are unemployed or on parental leave have the right to go to preschool at least 15 hours a week. Another explanation may be that the preschool has changed. Most children go to preschool. It’s become part of the educational system, just like elementary school,” says Åsa Nordström, at Skolverket. Yet another explanation might be that many children who previously were with babysitters now go to preschool. There’s a general increase in the number of children attending preschool, but the greatest increase in percent is in the group of 1-year olds.