On the face of it Sweden’s attitude to teaching 1-6 year olds is incredibly relaxed and informal. There’s little formal learning, play is paramount, babies are left outside to sleep even in the freezing winter, there are few locks or security coded gates and the children are encouraged to help with cleaning and catering.
And most of the children who leave these pre schools at the age of six can’t read or write.
Yet within three years of starting formal schooling at the age of seven Swedish children lead the literacy tables in Europe.
We travel to Motala – a small town set beside Sweden’s second biggest lake – to discover just how they achieve such stunning results.
Could the absence of testing, inspection and excessive paperwork combined with a strong emphasis on play and relaxation be the very secret of their success?