Saturday 24 March 2007

Christian to begin nursery school

Christian's last photocall in Verbier, Switzerland, during the family's visit in early February at the time of Mary's birthday. So far Christian has participated in a few photocalls: in his mother's arms when leaving hospital after his birth in October 2005, his Christiansborg christening in January 2005, at Queen Margrethe's birthday balcony appearance at Marselisborg last April, at Bonorong Wildlife Park in Tasmania in October 2006, at Christmas at Fredensborg with the descendents of Frederik IX December 2006, at Verbier 2007. Photocalls are a strange part of royal life.

The Danish Royal Court has announced in a press release that Prince Christian will begin nursery school at Queen Louise's Child Care Centre in Fredensborg on 27 March 2007. Christian's parents The Crown Prince Couple will accompany him on his first day and there will be a photocall for the media.

The press release says:
Amalienborg, 23 March 2007

Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess have decided that Prince Christian will begin at day nursery: Dronning Louise's Børnehus, Stenbækgårdsvej 202 in Fredensborg.

Prince Christian's first day at kindergarten is 27 March 2007, and the media is invited to take pictures when the Crown Prince Couple arrives together with Prince Christian at 10 am.

In return, we ask the media to respect that Prince Christian and the other children in the kindergarten and their families will afterwards be allowed to be left in peace, both while they are inside the kindergarten's property and its surrounds

(...then details for the media to arrange photocall accreditation ...)

P. Thornit
Chief of Court

Radio Humleborg (Fredensborg is in Humbleborg, the local municipality) reports an officer from the P.E.T (security protection service) will be with little Prince Christian at nursery school as a co-teacher (Støttepædagog). (thanks santa and gudinde!)

And B.T.'s (23 March 2007) report:

Prince Christian starts at day nursery

Queen Louise's Kindergarten (Dronning Louises Børnehus) in Fredensborg will have a new little member of the flock next week. Prince Christian will have a member of P.E.T. along too.

When you are going to be a big brother, then you are big enough to go to day nursery, so the little prince (Lilleprinsen in Danish) will start on Tuesday 27th March in Queen Louise's Kindergarten in Fredensborg, according to newspaper Helsingør Dagblad.

It has been expected that Prince Christian would be introduced to real life in the integrated institution of Queen Louise's Kindergarten in Fredensborg.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, who have previously been on a short visit to the kindergarten, have decided that Prince Christian will have a daily session at the kindergarten and will attend just like all the other children in Børnehuset.

The only difference caused by the little prince is that Politiets Efterretningstjeneste (PET) will tag along as a kind of co-nursery teacher during the hours the prince is in Børnehuset, says Fredensborg Lokalradio – Radio Humbleborg.B.T. (kindly translated by Muhler!)

On a further note, it is normal for children as young as one year old to go to nursery school in Denmark. Nikolai and Felix did it and most children of this age begin socialising with other children in this way from this age. Denmark and Scandinavia generally has among the world's best practice in child care, which is supported by government policy, funding and social acceptance. There are very generous maternity and paternity leave provisions and enlightened practices in child care generally which aim to contribute to the healthy all-round development of children. The centre Christian will attend is a normal nursery school (ie: not private) which is run by the local authority (Humbleborg). Because of the very high participation rates by women in the workforce in Denmark (average of 85% according to the OECD) there is a trade off to help the social functioning of families, which includes not only good quality care but also affordable care.

*Social Policy in Denmark - Day-care services for children the Queen Louise's Child Care Centre is an age-integrated insitution, which means it caters for babies and children from 6 months to 6 years. It is a normal public centre where Christian has been on the waiting list. It is funded by the local municipality and Frederik and Mary will pay the full fee, however, as for all parents in Denmark this is subsidised, although for parents who can afford less, they are subsidised further. Frederik and Mary will pay 2556 Dkk monthly (roughly USD 460.00/EUR 343.00/AUD 565.00) and when Christian starts at kindergarden level when he turns two, the fee will reduce to half, ie: 1270 Dkk (USD 227/EUR 170.00/AUD 280.00) And from Her&Nu (no.7), Christian's grandmother Queen Margrethe is the patron of the centre which is surrounded by fields and an orchard only a kilometre from the Fredensborg Palace park. (thanks santa and ambiDK for info and thanks to our readers for comments!)

Social and Health Policy scroll down for day-care for children and parental leave and child-care leave

Photos below: 1.&2. Queen Louise's Kindergarten (thanks m!), 3.GoogleEarth view of Fredensborg and the location of home at The Chancellory House and the location of the kindergarten - it is about a kilometre (thanks cph!), and a life being photographed 4. official photo session, in this case by Steen Evald for the recent Greenland stamp, 5. Steen Evald for Christian's first birthday last October, 6. photos of comings and goings, in this case on the way to Bornholm last summer, 7. Mary's private photo of Christian released at the beginning of last summer, and 8. Christian's unexpected appearance on the Dannebrog on arrival in Bornholm last summer.

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Blogger Home Educator's Helper said...

I must admit I am disappointed about this news - he is still such a little fellow and no doubt time with his parents is limited as it is - add to that he is going to connect the arrival of his new sibling with this new transition in his life.

*sigh* I wonder when society will start to realise the benefits of the parent/child relationship and stop trying to split them apart. Socialisation is highly over rated anyway.

Who'd be a royal!

1:27 pm  
Blogger lotte said...

Hi heart,

Why is it disappointing? Perhaps you are transferring problems in child care in other places to Denmark? We put information about child care being normal and highly supported by the people and all political parties in Denmark, and it being well-funded and suported. There is room surely for different cultural ideas in different countries, and Scandinavian countries have a record of being among the best in the world for child care practices.

You assume it will mean less time with Frederik and Mary, but that is not necessarily the case. They have shown in many ways that they are dedicated and committed parents, so I suppose we can trust that they are making decisions for Christian with his best interests front and centre. It doesn't mean Christian will be in care for long periods, btw.

Also, I suppose there is room for differences of opinion about the benefits or otherwise of different kinds of child raising practices. Some of those can be cultural, based on religious or other beliefs or based on the needs of a child in special circumstances.

Given Christian appears to be a child who is very secure in his parent's love and care for him (we can only go on photos, videos and press information), he is a future king, and I would think it a happier circumstance for him if he is not too shy (which Frederik has been afflicted with) and is able to be with all kinds of people in Danish society.

Why is this "splitting the parent/child relationship" -- that doesn't disappear because a child is at nursery school for a few hours a week does it? And, I am sorry, but I strongly disagree with your remark about "socialisation being highly over rated". In my view cohesive socialisation is essential for a healthy society, and that doesn't mean that individual qualities are repressed either. Lack of healthy socialisation is where you will find dysfunctional behaviour (crime), dysfunctional families, dysfunctional communities and high levels of social tension between different groups in society.

Unlike Australia, the US and many other OECD countries, Denmark has one of the lowest levels of difference between rich and poor and that makes the level of social cohesion very high. It doesn't mean Denmark is perfect, nowhere is, but through Mary maybe we can learn about how things are done in Denmark if we are not Danish. And, that is interesting perhaps.

6:56 am  
Blogger Home Educator's Helper said...

Hi Lotte

It is so dreadfully difficult to get one's point across properly over the net without causing offense, I actually didn't even think my comment would get posted, so thankyou for taking the time to respond, and I will try and share where I am coming from in return.

As a home-educator who has two very well adjusted, well 'socialised' children, and who sees other home-educated children with the same qualities - I do feel that the "world's" view of socialisation, is highly over-rated - I just have to look at the behaviour of some children who are socialised en masse to convince me of this.

I do understand that a few hours high quality care per week is not going to adversely affect the parent/child relationship in mormal situations (as long as it is only a few - I won't get started on my thoughts re 6 week old babies in care from 7am till 5pm 5 days a week!!)

Ofcourse people need people, but a child who is not yet two - just needs his mum and dad. So many great men and women have contributed to our society throughout history, and very few of them set foot in a day care centre, yet so many had a deeply developed sense of social justice, compassion and empathy for their fellow man (and were often highly intelligent!!).

I also wonder how confusing life must be for a royal tot - so many different adults in his or her life, all providing care - who exactly does the child bond with? It is very clear to see that Mary and Frederik are absolutely in love with their little boy - but how much time are they able to spend with him, when they have to be off spending time with people other than him? As a mother, I must admit, I would deeply resent having to so often be away from my children, no matter how great the surrogate care was!

At the end of the day, no matter how well supported or funded, or how well trained the carers - nothing beats the care of a loving mother and/or father.

I do accept that people hold different ideas to me, and that is obviously fine - we all come at topics from our own experiences/faith/region/world view, and I know, that here in Australia, my views are not shared by many!!

Anyway I understand if this does not get posted, but just wanted to respond to your comment.

Kind regards


2:58 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good to hear there will be a photo call, looking forward to seeing photos of Prince Christian.

3:01 pm  
Blogger Nell said...

I think the word "Kindergarten" is confusing some.
In Australia Kindergarten is the start of formal schooling eg. Kinder , Prep, Year 1,2 etc. Which starts at around 4 years of age.
Insitutions such as the Little Prince is enrolled in are called Day Care Centres/Chreches. These places cater for working mums or casual care to get a child used to mixing with others in the same age group, Or perhaps just a few hours out for mum to relax.
Luckily in Australia most mothers have the choice of working or not,The Govenment provides generous payments to stay-at-home mums while also subsidising child care centre fees for those who choose to return to the workforce.
I would guess this might be why some might think the Little Prince is acutally starting formal education at this young age. All a matter of a word.

4:08 am  
Blogger lotte said...

Hi janie,
It will be good to see Christian :)
He must be quite the little walking talking toddler now at 17 months old!

Hi Mel,
Yep, just like real talking more explanation increases understanding :)

I thought you sounded like a home-educator (keywords, you know what I mean). Of course we all have to choose the ways we think our children do best and which we are able to support in terms of income and lifestyle. In the Australian context home-educating kids is largely a middle-class phenomenon in cities where good outcomes are possible because of the education of parents, income to support the (usually) mother at home and for enriching materials and activities. Of course, in Australia we also have a long history of home-based education for country kids who are unable to attend school because of distance. This is catered for by the School of the Air, so there is contact with 'outsiders' - remember Princess Diana talking to the kids over the School of the Air in Alice Springs? (I think, can't remember exactly) The kids asked what William's favourite toys were...

Anyway, I share your concern about many child care practices and I agree that time with parents is a necessary and precious thing. Some institutional care is very problematic and I am thinking of a lot of private operators in Australia who run child care for profit. These have prospered over the past ten years or so in a period where Australians are now the workers who spend more time at work than any other OECD country in the world, and that is both men and women. We have taken over from Japan for working the longest hours for quite a few years now. My concern is that we do not have government policies which support families to 1)have children, 2)provide adequate maternal and paternal leave for the baby's first year of life (in Denmark it is one year), 3)provide ongoing good practice through employers so parents can care for sick kids etc. and 4)overall family-friendly financial and institutional support throught the crucial early years of childhood. Okay, don't want to sound as if I am on a soapbox anymore, but I do think there has been a long term shift by all governments in Australia away from family-friendly policies and in favour of work, very often on contracts which increases employment insecurity and affects the financial security and functioning of families.

I have friends who have home-schooled their kids and have seen a mixture of success and failure. Some kids thrive on it, as do some kids in alternate schooling (eg: Montessori, Steiner), but it is also my experience that some kids don't and I have seen some kids move into institutional settings which better suited them. Of course there are kids who don't have a good time at school too, but parents don't have choice about that because they must work. In Denmark, the majority of women work, but they have the benefit of a social/welfare system funded by high taxation which means most families have high levels of benefit and experience in common (collective solidarity which makes for high social cohesion).

At university in Australia study after study (University of Melbourne, UNSW and many others) for 15 years now shows a lot of kids (although not all) who have been home-schooled, alternate schooled and gone to private schools have adjustment issues in first year. Kids from the public school system out perform kids from the above categories at university in the first two years. Later years in university is when things like social advantge and social networks (mostly from private schools) begin to kick in.

The literature on institutional child care overwhelmingly supports the issue of quality of care as the single biggest benefit for children who must be in care because their parents must work to pay their mortgage and for women to realise their own work potential. The carer to children ratio is of prime importance, as is the standard of education for carers/teachers. One municipality I can think of which is doing vanguard work in standard of child care and integration of many ethnicities in council-run child care is Marrickville Council in Sydney.

I tend to come at things from a society-wide viewpoint as you might have gathered, but there is no doubt that in our society there is room for all sorts of ways to do things. At the moment I do see a move among well-off women (think Antonia Kidman and Robert Holmes a Court's wife) who are turning the emphasis onto how we parent and the importance of the quality of our parenting -- not that this is new actually, it is just the latest incarnation. This is a possibility for middle-class families, but I am afraid that the social differences of income and class in Australia means that that a uniform approach for all parents is not possible. There is still plenty of room for state interventions to assist kids who are disadvantaged, often for very complex reasons. This is needed for the quality of life for the individual children themselves and also for society as a whole imo. The gap between rich and poor in Australia has widened so much since the 50s and 60s that I regard it as a national tragedy. This is not the case in Denmark.

:D To Christian. Christian is a privileged child and will be privileged his whole life. Mary has had converstations (reported in Billed Bladet) about the need for him not to feel that he is so special. To me this shows great forethought, and love of course, for a child who will be in the spotlight throughout the crucial years of childhood in ways none of our children have to be. If I was Christian's mother I would want him to have friendships from childhood which have little to do with his royal status and everything to do with who he is as a person. Those will be relationships he will treasure most in a life where trust will always be an issue.

Anyway, here you see it posted :) It is a big issue and I suppose that even if we come at it from different angles, the concern for healthy, happy, well-adjusted kids is what we all wish for I am sure. As you say we have different ideas and there is room for lots of different approaches. It is my view that we cannot say one way is superior to others, but tolerance of all is good. I think we will have to agree to disagree about your doubts about socialisation.

We do post comments, just not spam and other odd ones (?!!).

All the best,
lotte :)

7:13 am  
Blogger lotte said...

Hi nell,

I accept your point about the word, however we have more than Australians reading the blog (literally every continent except Antarctica!). You noticed we used 'nursery school' in the heading -- maybe we can use this.

Below is a list of the categories of child care facilities in the Danish system. Christian's little centre is an age-integrated one which caters for children from 6 months to six years. You can see that the Danish categories are not too different from the Australian ones.

Sorry, but I have seen too much information on poor care in Australia, which is why I understand Mel's view. Australia's system is okay imo, but could be very much better. It is very expensive to start with, which cancels out the government benefit for kids for many families. In Sydney, where real estate is one of the most expensive in the world, mothers don't actually have so much choice about working, paying huge childcare costs, balancing family life, etc.
Australia does have some world's best practice child care centres -- there is no question about that -- but it is not a uniformally high standard system across all sectors of the child care system.

thanks for the input,

Day-care facilities

For children between the ages of six months and three years – mainly available in towns.

*Local authority childminding

Children mainly between the ages of six months and three years are looked after in the childminder's private home. The childminders are selected, engaged and paid by the local authority, which also determines which children should be looked after in the individual home.


For 3-6-year-old children; found both in urban and rural areas.

*After-school centres For 6-10-year-old children.

For the same age group, school-based day-care facilities have been established at many schools, under the Primary Education Act.

*Age-integrated institutions

In most cases, facilities catering for children aged six months to about six years.

*Pool schemes Established

privately, typically by groups of parents who make an agreement with the local authority on receiving subsidies.

*Youth clubs

A facility for older children and adolescents for the purpose of creating activities and a social life that encourages independence and the ability to be part of a community

3:41 am  

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