The Save the Children Foundation recently published the report on The State of the World’s Women, which evaluates various issues about women’s lives and declares that Norway is the best country to be a mother. The Norwegians show in this report that they take their children and the possibility of reconciling work and family into account, since women have maternity leave of up to 56 weeks and also stands out for the educational level of women, low mortality child, a high fertility rate and few wage differences between women and men. Regarding maternity leave, a Norwegian woman can choose a 46-week leave receiving 100% of her salary or a 56-week leave receiving 80%. Men, for their part, are entitled to 10 weeks receiving 100% of their salary. If with this you are getting long teeth, keep reading, there is still more.
One of the topics that has surprised us the most is the education of the 0 to 6 age group. At this stage, although schooling is not compulsory, kindergartens, known as barnehage, are widely used by families. Barnehage can be public or private. When we got here, several people advised us to take our little ones to the international school. It should be noted that most of the people in Trondheim are bilingual English-Norwegian, but the vehicular language for daily life is Norwegian. They knew neither English nor Norwegian, so we decided on a local public barnehage, to facilitate their integration into society.
Children do not fill in cards. They learn through play. While some are drawing or building constructions, others are in the yard. There are common activities such as reading stories, singing songs, or going on a hike. But no desks and chairs in a row. Likewise, a lot of work is done in groups of between five and seven children. They do cooking, painting workshops, or go to the library. They foam up in the puddles on the patio, or are thrown across the ice with the sleds.
In 2008 Norway broke records for the construction of kindergartens and since 2009 a place is guaranteed by law. For this reason, 90% of children from one to five years old attend a kindergarten, either public or private, the maximum cost being 280 euros.
With these policies, the country ensures fertility rates that ensure generational replacement, preventing the country from aging. Each action they perform is studied to assess what they achieve. For example, one of the studies carried out shows them that when the father takes parental leave with her first child, the chances of having a second are higher. Last year 3 out of 5 fathers took 6 or more weeks of paternity leave and 61,000 children were born, which is the highest number in the country since 1972.