There are a few things to consider for parents who are new to the Danish school system to get the year started off right!
Text: Kelly Kristensen
When we moved to Denmark, it was during the spring before our son started school, and we were confused about what to do. After five years and two sons now in school in Denmark, I have some tips for parents who may also be new to sending a child to school in Denmark that I hope will help eliminate the confusion.
Signing up your child for school in Denmark
When signing your child up for school, you may have to do different things depending on the age and grade of your child as well as the municipality where you live. A Danish language test may be required if the child lives in a home where a language other than Danish is spoken. To get more information on the steps for signing up your child in a school in Denmark, visit this website: Life in Denmark
Meeting with teacher and parents before the first day
A few months before school starts, your child may go on a school visit with their daycare class. Ask your child’s daycare about this. Parents will also be invited to a meeting at the school to get information and meet the teacher and other parents. One thing that I would recommend would be to ask the school to have a translator available for you if you don’t understand Danish. This meeting is when parents can volunteer to be a member of the forældreråd, parent committee and learn about the amount you need to pay for the “klasse kasse”, classroom budget and the before and after-school care called SFO.
Communication with teachers and parents
If you are wondering how to contact your child’s teacher, the parents of the other students in the class, or a member of the SFO, you will need to make sure you are using the online tool called Aula. This is an email and calendar program that serves as a link between teachers and parents. You can report that your child is ill with this programme and sign up for conferences with the teacher. In addition, teachers post their lesson plans along with other important information. You can get the app for your phone and receive notifications whenever new information is posted.
Special event on the first day of Grade 0
If you have a child starting school for the first time in grade 0, you should know that many schools will also allow the parents to attend the first hour or so to watch from the back of the room. This tradition happens all across Denmark for grade 0, and it may also happen for other grades. You will need to contact the school to find out. After observing from the back of the room, the parents are often asked to attend a meet-and-greet with just the parents in another part of the school. The entire event for parents can last for a couple of hours, and it is a great way to get to know the other parents.
Parent Committee / Forældrerådet
If you have extra time to dedicate to planning events, you may want to volunteer to participate in the parent committee group called Forældrerådet. This is another great way to meet other parents and get involved in what your child does with the class during non-school hours. Forældrerådet is often in charge of creating the “legegruppe” or play group that allows children to play with different children throughout the year to get to know each other better. Having your child be active in this group is also a great way to get to know the other parents. Don’t feel intimidated to join this group if you don’t speak Danish. I joined this group after only living in Denmark for five months, and it has helped me connect better with Danish parents.