Alliierte Schulen Graz
David Bainbridge works at Ericsson in Sweden. He lives with his wife Heather and six-year-old daughter Evelyn in Haninge outside Stockholm. He believes Sweden leads the way in excellent, heavily state-subsidised childcare.

"Children don't tend to go into childcare before they are a year old because mothers have extremely good maternity benefits," says David.

Evelyn is in the now reception year at her state school but, like most Swedish children, she used to attend a state-subsidised kindergarten. "The kindergartens are located near residential areas and are open from 6.00am to fit in with parents' working hours," says David. "The children are given breakfast and lunch and the food is included in the contribution the parents pay. Last year, we paid about 1,500 Swedish Kroner ($150) per month. But the cost of childcare has been capped since the beginning of this year, so last month we paid 600 Kroner ($60)."

Parents contribute a percentage of their gross income to the government for each child at a state-subsidised nursery, but the percentage is reduced with each extra child. There is also a ceiling on how much tax can be paid. The most a family with one child would pay is about 1,300 Kroner ($180) a month, says David. And the most a family with three or more children attending state nursery would pay is around 3,000 Kroner ($300). "The idea is that people need good, affordable childcare so they can rejoin the workforce. It is seen as a basic service. It is as much a part of the infrastructure of going out to work as decent transport. There would be an uproar if it was cut. Paying for childcare is not such a burden as, say, in the UK, so people don't have to work as many hours to pay for it," he says. "Many people are even opting to cut their hours and their wages so they can spend more time with their families."

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© Teilnehmer des Projektes Allied Schools Graz zuletzt bearbeitet am: 9. Dezember 2008