Posted by: Sarah | January 8, 2013

Time To Plant Lizzie In The “Children’s Garden”

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year

Secondly, I’d like to apologise for not writing any posts for a few months.  Work has been manic and being a Mum seems to take up more time than I expected :-)

Thirdly, big news in our house…Lizzie will be a big sister come May this year.  Yes, we’re going through this entire pregnancy routine again.  I’ll be an expert on NAV forms after this baby!

Jordbrekkskogen barnehageYou’re probably wondering what this post is about – “Children’s Garden”?  Well, Lizzie turned 1 at the start of December and started Barnehage  at the same time which literally translated means a “Children’s Garden”.  It’s the Norwegian version of nursery or kindergarten.

Many children in Norway will start attending Barnehage from 10+ months since the welfare system in Norway is geared up to encourage parents back into employment – the Barnehage fees are capped at approx 2800 NOK a month (approx £310) and there are many options to choose from.  Also, the more children you have the cheaper the fees per child (up to 3 children).   So the inevitable came for our family so far she seems to be enjoying every minute of it!

It made me realise that I haven’t yet covered the Barnehage topic in my blog so I’ll just outline the different types of Barnehage and also my top tips (based on my limited experience) on selecting a Barnehage:

Types of Barnehage:

To start with there are two types of Barnehage – Kommune and Privat.  Kommune are run by the local kommune and Privat are run by private companies.  From what I can tell there is not much to separate them.  From my experience  the Kommune ones tend to be quite big e.g. 100+ children but then some of the private ones are of a similar size.  Either way, you will pay a capped fee each month so the price shouldn’t be that different.

paintedhandsHeldagsbarnehage (Whole day barnehage):  This is the most common as parents tend to go back to work full time – open 5 days a week for up to 9 hours.  Can be kommune or privat.   Age typically 1-5 years old.  Often large in size.

Halvdagsbarnehage (Half day barnehage):  I didn’t come across any of these but apparently they’re open 5 days a week for up to 4 hours.   Ideal if you’re working part time.

Familiebarnehage (Family Barnehage):  Lizzie is in one of these.  They tend to be smaller (4-8 children) and in an annex of a house where someone has converted the basement or granny flat into a nursery.  I was a bit worried about this to start with but apparently this is very normal in Norway.  Age typically 1-3 years old.

Åpen barnehage:  This is for parents who are at home during the day.  They can take their children to meet other children in an environment designed for children.  It tends to be free of charge.  No registration necessary and a kindergarten teacher is normally present.  Open 5 days a week for up to 4 hours.

My Top Tips:

Well I’m no expert at this but just from my experience, this is what I would recommend:

  • Always go to visit the Barnehage(s) that you’re thinking of applying for.  I didn’t bother until someone at work suggested it and I’m glad I did – you know your child best and will get a feeling about whether they will fit into an environment or not
  • What are the opening hours?  Always ask as they vary a lot and if you have a long commute back from work you want to be sure you’ll get there in time.
  • santaluciaWhere will your child sleep?  Some Barnehage’s will have beds but many will tell you to bring a stroller/pram and the children will sleep in that
  • What food arrangements do they have?  Some will serve hot food once a week, others will supply food every day, others will require a packed lunch every day.  Make sure you check.
  • How many are in the groups?  The Barnehage’s that have many children will divide them up into smaller groups.  Check how many are in the groups and how many staff supervise them
  • What activities will they do?  Okay, this is more fun but ask to see what sort of things they get up to.  Lizzie gets involved in painting, playing in the snow, dressed up for Santa Lucia (right) – she’s only been a few times!

Any other tips to share?



  1. Congratulations on the baby. Do you work too?

    • Hi – thanks. Yes, I work in Lysaker near Oslo.

  2. Congratulations on the baby too, how exciting!! :)

    Depending on the kommune, one thing about choosing the barnehage is that no matter which one you want, it might be that you have no chance of getting it especially if your child is born after August. We didn’t get the barnehage we wanted, but luckily got the 2nd choice. In our little town all the barnehage places are filled and there are no extras to go around, hence the most popular ones get filled with kids who are born earlier in the year or who already have siblings in that barnehage.

    • Hi – thanks for the comment. I forgot to mention this in my blog but I had heard that many Norwegians do try to plan when they have their child so it’s born before August and can guarantee a barnehage place! I also heard the hospitals are packed in July with women wanting to give birth before the month is up. How organised is that???? I don’t know how much truth there is in that. Seems a crazy system to me.

  3. Mega congratulations !! I’m sure you and Eliot are delighted and excited and Lizzie although she doesn’t understand !!

    • Thanks Ursula – yes, another on the way. Totally knackered at the moment but I guess that’s a sign of things to come :-) xx

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