During the week of February 4th every DIS student spent the entire week with their core course. In my case this was my Child Development in Scandinavia class. We spent the first 3 days of the week on a short overnight bus trip to western Denmark and then ended the week in Copenhagen. The cover photo of this blog is the picture of the sun rising on Monday morning during our class bus ride.
We spent all of Monday at LEGO House. Surprise! LEGO is Danish! We spent the day as kids would walking around the house and playing with LEGOs. We made fish, mythical creatures, cars, drive LEGO robots, and more. They had six separate sections that sparked a different type of learning and it was cool to be able to connect the goals and ideals there with what we have been learning in class. Each visitor gets a bag of six red lego blocks and unique individual building instructions at the end! My combination won’t be repeated for 3000 years. We ended the day with dinner as a group and then some bowling!
We started the day by visiting the #1 rated Danish institution in 2017 in Odense, Denmark. Institution is a Danish “preschool” with kids ages 0-6. The early childhood education program in Denmark is so beyond amazing and I will make sure to write an entire blog post about it soon, it deserves it. We had lunch at a restaurant that opened just for us (it was SO good) and then went to the Jelling Stones which mark the creation of Denmark as a state back in the 10th century. We had the night off to ourselves so I went out to dinner and dessert with a few friends in my class.
We went to two separate museums: a children’s culture house and a modern art museum. The children’s culture house was honestly 10/10. It was based on an H.C Andersen story and women who worked there led us through a mini play where I played the magical bush, lol. It was awesome! The modern art museum wasn’t my favorite, i’m not huge into museums, but I sat and had a great conversation with a friend in my class for over an hour while building LEGOs (yes, they seem to be everywhere here). Both of the museums were in Odense, the original home of H.C. Andersen and the town fittingly felt like a fairytale with cobblestone streets and cute small houses.
We spent Thursday at our regular practicum sites in the city. Friday was by far my favorite day of the week. Not necessarily because it was the best day for everyone but our visit really appealed to me personally. We visited a “family house” in the Copenhagen area of Fredericksburg. Families and children are referred there by social workers when they are deemed “at risk” for neglecting their children or being neglected and could use a middle point before foster care or need time to determine whether they can go back to their families. Three of the women who work at the home talked with us for two hours about the home and the services they provide. Families can live there to learn parenting skills with a goal to move back home with their children or children who have been removed from their homes can live there from 2 months to 2 years as a middle place between home or foster care. I cannot put into words how much I loved this place. It was truly amazing to see the resources that the municipality puts into helping children and families. The kids who live there go on vacations 3 times a year, can have friends over for sleepovers, and live as normal a life as possible. Compare this to your idea of a children’s group home in the US. Yeah. Amazing. If the US had establishments like this, I would be changing careers to social work with a goal to work there. I’ll never forget that experience.