Hello there Anna Sonesson and Jessica Ekberg...2023-09-22
...teachers of the Early Years Education Programme at Karlstad University…you are going to Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, in October on an ERASMUS exchange. You are also meeting with a commission of the Australian Government tasked with reviewing the country’s preschool education. Tell us more!
"We have a student exchange agreement with Victoria University and it turned out that there was ERASMUS funding for teachers to visit the university as well, says Anna Sonesson. We jumped at the opportunity and professor Mary-Rose McLaren, who’s the point of contact for our students, will be our contact person also."
Anna and Jessica are going to visit Victoria University and its campuses in Melbourne and Sydney.
"We see this as part of Karlstad University's internationalisation and especially in terms of internationalising the Early Years Education Programme, says Jessica Ekberg. We are going to hold lectures about our preschool teacher education and about the preschool teaching profession in Sweden. The lectures will include sustainable development, the democracy mission, information and communication technology and the view of children in Sweden today and in the past. We are also taking part in a video where we talk about Swedish preschool versus preschool systems in other countries from a global perspective. This will include information about the Swedish Education Act, the school curriculum, our culture and how we view children and so on. It will be used for educational purposes for future preschool teachers at Victoria University."
Another purpose of the visit is to initiate a digital exchange between students who are not able to physically go on an exchange.
"We are course coordinators of semester 2 of the Early Years Education Programme and want to inspire our students early on to go on an exchange, says Anna Sonesson. A digital exchange may also lower the threshold and make our students feel more comfortable to go on an actual exchange abroad."
"I’m really looking forward to taking part in what our Australian colleagues teach their students, says Jessica Ekberg, who hopes to learn a lot and share experiences from Sweden. We come from completely different cultures, which also means that our preschool systems, for natural reasons, are very different from one another. A big difference is that it is very expensive to have your children in preschool in Australia, which makes you wonder who are able to attend preschool and who are not? They also have a national and a local curriculum, which we do not have in Sweden."
Meeting with the government
An acquaintance of an acquaintance of Anna Sonesson works for a commission within the Australian Government that looks at how to develop the country’s preschool system. Since Sweden has a good reputation, they want to compare their system with the Swedish system.
"We are meeting them during our visit to Melbourne and we will talk about the Swedish preschool system and our preschool teacher education. We hope to be able to contribute to an advisory opinion which they will present later this autumn and which will result in a report next summer."
We are very excited and hope to learn a lot and that it will be a fruitful exchange between preschool education in Australia and Sweden!