In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on states “to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.” As states contemplate adopting universal preschool, the Nordic nations of Denmark, Finland, and Sweden offer interesting comparisons and perspectives based on their experiences in early childhood education. Since all three countries are built around the welfare-state model, they have already been offering universal systems for quite some time. As a result, there is an opportunity to see what these three countries have been doing right and what they are still struggling with.
On February 28, experts from Denmark, Finland, and Sweden joined Brown Center Director Russ Whitehurst at Brookings, to compare their different education models with the United States. The Danish Minister for Children and Education, Christine Antorini, offered a keynote address discussing the early childhood education system in Denmark. Following her address, she was joined by Tuula Peltonen a Social Democratic Party Member of the Finnish Parliament and Göran Montan a member of the Riksdag in Sweden.