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In the Media

BBC.com: How to Live in Denmark and “the single word that connects Denmark”

How to Live in Denmark makes an appearance in the BBC.com story “The Single Word that Connects Denmark.”

According to writer Karen Gardiner, the single word that connects Denmark is samfundssind, or putting the interests of society above one’s own interests.

She quotes Kay Xander Mellish about the ways in which samfundssind is created and encouraged in Denmark.

Heavily subsidised through taxes, Danish daycare centres foster social mindedness early in life. “Almost everyone goes to public daycare in Denmark,” said Kay Xander Mellish, author of the books How to Live in Denmark and How to Work in Denmark.

“Even Prince Christian, the future King Christian XI, attended public daycare.” Every child born in Denmark is guaranteed a place in daycare from six months to six years of age where the emphasis is on playing and socialising – formal education doesn’t begin until age eight or nine.

“In the first few years,” said Mellish, “children learn the basic rules for functioning as a society. They learn how to sit at a table at lunch time, wait until it is their turn to be served, and feed themselves. In the playground, they spend most of their time in “free play”, in which they make up rules for their own games.”

Staff generally don’t lead play, she explained, which “allows the children to form their own groups and learn how to work together on their own.”

Often, Mellish added, schools start the day by singing a song together from the popular Højskolesangbogen, (the Folk High School Songbook), a cultural tradition that extends to universities, offices and, on Wednesday mornings, Copenhagen Main Library.

You can read the complete article here.

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