Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dagis vs Förskola a lesson in Swedish political correctness

I have been thinking to write this post since I arrived to Sweden and Mila started at daycare here. This is a post about marketing, linguistic development, Swedish political correctness and whether or not we have to change. And what this got to do with daycare you might wonder..

When I was a kid ( 30 years ago) I went to daycare and we all called it dagis in swedish (cute short easy to say term that everyone used for daycare/kindergarten) I loved my dagis and my dagis teacher and I have a lot of great memories from this time.

I am not sure about exactly when but a few years ago it became big no no to call dagis dagis. This super important role that all the people have taking care of kids is (or was?) a low paid job as it is dominated by women. And I guess as a strategy trying to higher the status and the salaries was to start to use the name förskola //preschool//  ( which previously was mainly used for the year just before you actually start school at 7) and a higher criteria to mainly employ university educated preschool teachers a movement pushed from the government ( a 4 year long education including work practice) I am not sure how much this development has higher their salaries or the status but I do hope that the levels are more acceptable for the very hard and important job that they are doing. I really do think that they are doing a great job taking such good care of other peoples kids and actually the modern Swedish society depends on this workforce as the norm and economy is to be home for a year on parental leave before going back to work. But is really the name that important for the status?

For me who has lived in and out of Sweden since 2001 and no kids until recently was a little chocked about this for me sudden super ultra incorrectness of using the term dagis. To say dagis is like cursing in church (but really!!) I know political correctness is one of the most important cornerstones in "Swedishness" but really you should see peoples reactions when you say dagis! And me and many with me don't mean anything bad it is just much cuter and easier to marketing the concept for a 2 year old. And also really when kids are 1,2 & 3 they don't need a teacher or preparation for school they need comfort and support from a grown up who are great with kids and listen to kids needs if parents decide to go back and work (don't mean anything bad with this either)

So listen to this dagis is now called förskola but it is ok to shorten it and call it föris !?  Really föris but not dagis?!

I am not sure if I can call it a cultural chock moving back to Sweden or if Sweden has taken political correctness too far or if this really is important for equality and higher their status ?

It is not only me using the dagis term still.. Shame on you Google translate!!

And shame on you mormor Mi who was proud to join Mila at her dagis last week ( when stomach flu was running wild) and called dagis dagis and not föris in your Facebook post. Little did you know that you were stepping on one or two sensitive toes and that you Facebook post would be commented like never before.

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