Most Scandinavians have grown up with what is often called the Nordic ideal—that is, to offer their young children a “good childhood.” In fact, to cultivate this value, in most Nordic countries children are not encouraged to enroll in any form of structured academic instruction before age six. Instead, children are given opportunities to learn about their world by playing, where they explore familiar surroundings by themselves and with others in joyful settings, with freedom to choose what to do and how long to do it. This child-centric approach has demonstrated success in preparing children for more structured learning experiences as they grow older, either self-directed or as part of formal school curricula.

The American-Scandinavian Foundation is proud to present The Good Childhood in a World of Change: A Nordic-American Dialogue on Best Educational Practices. Conceived and organized in collaboration with the Child Development Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, the symposium will be held at Scandinavia House in midtown Manhattan. The symposium promises to be a cross-cultural gathering of educators and specialists in the field, discussing the benefits of childhood freedom and unstructured play, as well as the challenges of educating a diverse and rapidly changing population, both in the U.S. and the Nordic countries.

Speakers and panelists in the forefront of early childhood education theory and practice from major universities and schools in the U.S. and the Nordic countries will give presentations, and about 150 practitioners in the field of early childhood education are expected to attend.

Panelists & Speakers

MAJA SBAHI BIEHL, Program Director and Faculty, CDD, Child Development and Diversity Program, Copenhagen, Denmark

NANCY CARLSSON-PAIGE, Senior Advisor, Defending the Early Years; Professor Emerita, Early Childhood Education, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA

JAN DRUCKER, Director, Child Development Institute’s Empowering Teachers Program, Sarah Lawrence College, NY

INGRID ENGDAHL, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education, Stockholm University, Sweden

LAURA GARCIA, Principal, The Ella Baker School, New York City

HEIDI HARJU-LUUKKAINEN, Associate Professor, Department of Childhood Education, University of Helsinki, Finland

DENISHA JONES, Assistant Professor, Early Childhood and Elementary Education in the College of Arts and Sciences, Trinity Washington University, Washington, DC

INGRID PRAMLING SAMUELSSON, Professor, Early Childhood Education, Gothenburg University, Sweden

JUDITH WAGNER, Director, Broadoaks Children’s School; Professor, Education and Child Development, Whittier College, CA

Presentation Topics



FRI—11-18-2016—9:30 AM-5 PM
SAT—11-19-2016—9:30 AM-5 PM
$40, 2-day registration or $25, 1-day only registration