Vocational Visit – Norwegian Social Services

(Post by Jody Houle)

Today was my first vocational visit in Norway and it was a very full day!  It began at 8:50am when Jan kindly picked my up to transport me to my meeting place.  There, I met Rune Froiland who was my guide for the day.
My first stop was to Haga Skole where I was given a tour of the largest school in the area.  There was a striking differnce in the looks of the school compared to Canadian schools.  The hallways are warm and inviting with lots of wood accents on the walls, and sometimes the walls were all wood.  The hallways were quite large.  There were at least 2 rooms for each grade because of the number of students.  The school has a special classroom for foreign children where they are provided with assistance in learning the Nowegian language.  I met children from all over the world.
My next visit was to Norde Jarlsberg Barnehage.  The Norwegians refer to it as kindergarten but in Canada it is called daycare.  The facility is brand new and located near the sea so the building was designed to represent a ship and has a very nautical theme to it.  It’s beautiful!  There are 116 children attending there now in 6 different departments.  I was shown something called snakkepakka, which translated means speaking package.  They are different themed boxes filled with articles that the workers use with children to stimulate conversation.  One of the things that I found very different here was that they have a 20 percent male staff. 
I was then taken to Building B where a number of services are provided at Familietjenesten.  There was an area for health care for children, child protection services, services for children with disabilities, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychiatric support.  I had lunch with 9 staff from the different areas and was given a tour of the facilities.
From there it was on to Prestegardsalleen Bofellesskap, a community of apartments where assisted living is provided for children and adults.  Children can live there for short-terms when parents request assistance or for long-term care.  Some of the apartments are brand new and all looked comfortable and personnal.  There were common rooms for cooking, eating, and socializing. 
My last stop of the day was back at the school I first visited to learn about Haga SFO.  SFO is an after-school leisure program for students.  It is paid for by parents and children are provided with activities until their parents are finished work.  The staff shared that they are very careful to keep this service separate from school although they do provide assistance with homework.  They want to ensure that all students are provided with equal opportunity and so make sure the students who do not participate in SFO are not missing out on anything.
It was a very full day and I learned a lot about the Norwegian social system and how services are provided.  All of the facilities that I visited were beautiful and well maintained and were very client-focussed.  I am so happy to have had the opportunity to visit them all!

(Post by Jody Houle)


1 Comment»

  Ed Kaminski wrote @

I finally caught up to your trip today. WONDERFUL. I am sending an email to all of our visit coordinators and certain others, letting them know what we have to live up to. It will not be easy. . .

Ed K.

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