September 21, 2015 by Jenny Lonnstam
It’s a crisp November morning in Sweden, the daily song and dance hour has almost come to an end at “Förskolan Solen” (Daycare Sun). 15 children and 3 teachers finish a nutritious fruit snack before heading outside to 20º F and a thin layer of white powdery snow on the ground.
Children begin to pair into small groups, while teachers escort kids to their cubbies. Every child has their own little area with hooks, shelves and drawers where they keep all their clothing. Properly hung, folded and name-labeled. Learning to dress for weather is a very important lesson for the day.
The first layer of clothing applied is soft, comfortable play clothes, followed by a base layer of Merino Wool. The second layer a set of fleece clothing, followed by a shell jacket/pants, rain gear or snowsuit depending on the weather. Everything you could possibly need to stay dry, warm and happy through every weather condition.
Swedes have a saying – “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing”.
When everyone is dressed, they play outside for an hour then head back inside to eat lunch. Everyone eats together, even the teachers. Meals are cooked in the daycare kitchen with food passed along like a family holiday meal, kids are free to choose what they eat. The curriculum at most day cares in Sweden highlight the importance of children being independent, learning by doing and helping out with daily chores.
When lunchtime is over, it’s nap-time. The smallest children (under 2) will often sleep in their strollers outside. Dressed again in layers then tucked nice and snug in a sleep sack with blankets to stay warm. Rain or snow they will sleep outside. According to Swedes, fresh air is the best way to rejuvenate the brain and stay focused, relaxed and able to learn.
While the smallest children sleep, the oldest read books and work on craft activities. They choose themselves what they’d like to do, learning is not forced but sparked through curiosity.
Once the afternoon snack is consumed (open faced sandwich w/ ham, eggs and cheese), the children head outside again. The snow is now mixed w/ rain and pouring down heavily, but no one thinks twice before suiting up. Swedes invest in high quality children clothing so little ones can run, wiggle, jump and play with confidence regardless of weather. Best of all, when outgrown, clothing is passed along to siblings, cousins or friends. Boy or girl – it will not matter – everyone can wear each color and print! This is why Polarn O. Pyret is Sweden’s leading children clothing brand since 1976 – we are proudly making colorful, gender neutral, comfortable clothes that allows children to be children.