Quality at IES

Fritids activities: ”We lay the foundation for lifelong learning”

“By getting to know children and their parents at an earlier stage of each child’s life, it’s easier for us to offer the support each individual needs to develop to their full potential. This is one of the key reasons that IES has decided to offer more places from as early as preschool class, in new and existing schools around the country. This gives us a chance to create a good foundation for the child’s future schooling, not least linguistically, and also imbue a desire for lifelong learning”, comments Magdalena Bull, primary years manager at IES.


IES has traditionally emphasised years four to nine. For the past couple of years all new schools have been open to students in preschool class, and more schools are opening up to students for the entire range of compulsory school years, from preschool class to year nine. 

“This gives us a unique opportunity to perform even better in our goal to offer the best possible academic development for each individual, while at the same time supporting each student in leaving school as a self-assured and responsible adult.”

The primary objective of the new role as primary years manager is to lead and support the advancement of academic quality as well as self-confidence, health and safety. In other words ensuring the academics and pastoral aspects within preschool class, fritids (before and after school care which follows a pedagogic curriculum) and years one to three.

“When we have the chance to get to know children and  their parents early, we have an opportunity to lay the foundation for a positive view of schooling and learning. We also have the chance to support the child with their reading skills and with Swedish and English – which is particularly important for children with a different language background. 

“Starting at IES already at the age of six gives children a unique opportunity to become part of our unique, international and inclusive culture from the beginning, where the Swedish and English languages co-exist naturally, and where tolerance for differences and ’warm authority’ are a given,” says Ms Bull.

According to the Education Act, fritids centres should stimulate the students’ development and learning, and offer them meaningful recreational activities before, after or otherwise connected to the school day, and during holidays. Students should also be given the chance to develop their ability to deal with conflicts constructively. 

“The fritids centre is a tremendously important part of the student’s day. IES strongly believes that the student should succeed socially, not only academically, and a solid foundation for this is laid at the fritids centre,” comments Ms Bull. 

“A lot has happened in terms of fritids activities and teaching, compared to when we started 30 years ago, but our goal is still the same, i.e. to create an inspiring environment for our students.”

The purpose of the fritids centre is to complement the pre-school class and the school, and allow parents to combine parenthood with work or study. The fritids centre should stimulate the students’ development and learning, provide them meaningful recreational activities, and foster all-round relationships and social community.

“There are already so many good initiatives within IES when it comes to fritids centres, and my role partly involves sharing best practices, knowledge and experiences between the schools. That’s why one of my first tasks will be to set up a forum for everybody who works with younger students and fritids at IES,” says Ms Bull.

IES Värmdö is one of the schools with a preschool class, years one to three, and a fritids centre. The playground, which includes everything from a cosy reading corner to climbing frames, board games and a dodge ball court, is evidence of the focus on giving children a chance for calm and quiet as well as lively activities – depending on their mood. Adults are always present in the playground so that it feels safe, and to deal with any conflicts. 

“We place great emphasis on the children feeling safe in the playground, and therefore have three staff members working with the break-time activities full time. One important task is to prevent bullying, and also to teach the students to show respect for each other and for property,” says the assistant principal, Brayden Scarlett. 

“We have an advantage in that the school is located close to natural and beautiful recreational areas, so we can come up with all sorts of fun activities linked to what the students are studying at the time. We therefore collaborate closely with the teachers,” adds Sarah Wetherell who is in charge of the fritids centre at IES Värmdö. 

Around 300 children per day join in the activities offered by the fritids centre, where the school day starts with breakfast at 6.30 am, and a snack during the day is popular. There is also a host of indoor activities designed to stimulate the children’s imagination and desire to play.