Life in Stockholm mixes green technology and historical heritage, urban lifestyle and a close connection to Sweden’s natural beauty. Yet, the city seems not to struggle with these opposites. Rather, people living in Stockholm are mostly relaxed, friendly and happy to help, making it easy for visitors and expats to feel at home in their new life in the Swedish metropolis. Moreover, because Stockholm is a cosmopolitan city, the distinctive culture is not as pronounced here as in other parts of Sweden. Indeed, it is common to hear English, French and Arabic on the streets of the Södermalm district.
While living in Stockholm, you may not only have to worry about your visa, but also the job search and dealing with culture shock. Moreover, if you should be moving to Stockholm with your family, you might have some trouble trying to understand the Swedish education system. Luckily, the city has lots of excellent schools for expat kids living in Stockholm. Expats moving to Sweden will be happy to hear that the quality of education is rather high. Public education is free of charge for every resident living in Stockholm, and adult education is provided at no charge as well. At around 6.8%, Sweden spends a relatively high amount of their GDP on education to make this viable.
Four out of five kids in Stockholm who are under the age of 6 attend pre-school. Most of these institutions in Stockholm offer day care services, including help for children in need of special care. The city is obligated to offer pre-school and family day care for children of working parents or parents enrolled in a university. Kids with special needs receive free day care as well.
Parents who are unemployed or on parental leave can make use of family day care services as well. They are entitled to 15 hours of free pre-schooling for their children from the age of one year onwards.
Schooling in Sweden is compulsory for all children above the age of 7. The municipality itself has to provide education to all local children of at least 6 years of age who wish to begin their education. The city therefore offers an optional preparatory year to children living in Stockholm. Expat parents who want their kids to get used to their new environment may be happy to make use of this. Compulsory schooling includes nine grades in total.
You are allowed to choose the institution you want your child to attend while you are living in Stockholm and to make use of the excellent education Sweden offers. There will always be a place for your child at your local school. Of course, you can choose to enroll your child in another school if there is a place available.
Most school children in Stockholm decide to attend upper secondary school as well. Stockholm offers upper secondary education at 28 public schools and 45 independent schools throughout the city.
Municipal upper secondary schools have 16 national programs, 15 special programs, individual programs and IB programs. If you should be moving to the city with a child who has special educational needs or learning disabilities, there are upper secondary schools and programs catering to your child's needs.
Read our article on living in Sweden for more information on Sweden’s education system and its schools.
Of course, Stockholm's public schools, as excellent as they may be, might not be the right choice for your child. This is often the case when expat children have already reached a certain age, are not fluent in the local language or if their parents are on a short-term assignment. In this case, you might like to send your child to one of the international schools, which host plenty of other expat kids, to ease the transition into their new life in Stockholm. The following will have more precise information on what some of these institutions offer:
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