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How the Danish education system helps create critical thinkers  

Denmark is renowned all over the world for its schools. Here’s why Danish education is a perfect foundation for your child’s future.

The first thing that springs to mind when you visit a school in Denmark is the safe environment. Children down to the age of 8 are walking or biking to school by themselves, there’s no need for excessive security, and teachers and personnel have friendly and informal dialogues with parents and students outside the classrooms. Due to the high level of equality in Danish society, everyone can feel welcome in the school system and have the same access to education. The high degree of state funding means that Denmark’s education system ranking is consistently high compared to the rest of the world – ranking number 2 in the most recent study from 2020.

The levels of education in Denmark

In Denmark, children typically enroll in kindergarten at the age of 3. Most kindergartens are more focused on teaching the children social skills, but in the final  3rd year before school starts, many children will receive some pre-school training based on their readiness. After kindergarten, compulsory education begins:

  • Compulsory education for Danish children lasts for ten years
  • There’s an optional 11th year which is often taken as a gap year on an “efterskole” – an independent boarding school focused on arts, sport, theater, and other dedicated subjects
  • After the compulsory years, more than 70% of children continue their education in high school, which lasts 2 to 3 years
  • Most of the rest opt for vocational education institutions, and very few get no further education

What makes the Danish education system unique?

One of the things that set our education system apart is the lack of focus on learning by rote. Especially in the early years, there’s a didactic mindset in the teaching helping children to learn the way that suits the individual in the best way. From a young age, children are taught to be problem solvers and critical thinkers through group work, presentations, and project-oriented learning. In general, Danish public schools introduce grades from the 9th school year, but some private Schools like Copenhagen International School introduce them much sooner.

International schools in Denmark

In Denmark, English teaching begins in the second grade. As we are a small country dependent on export and international cooperation, you’ll experience a population that speaks English on an advanced level.

But as the rest of the teaching in Danish public schools is in the local language, many expats opt for enrolling their children in a private international school instead. This is especially important for parents focused on having their children attend an international university after high school, as having a diploma from an IB school vastly improves the chances of getting accepted.

Copenhagen International School specializes in helping children grow academically while they adapt to Danish society in the best way possible. As a founding member of the International Baccalaureate schools, we offer a solid education from pre-school to high school for students from more than 80 countries.

Watch a Danish international school in action – book a digital tour

If you want to experience a Danish international school from the inside and see how we take the best from the Danish educational system and combine it with the IB mindset, you can now book a digital tour with one of our admission officers or sit in on a class. If you’re already in Denmark, you can also book a physical campus tour. Find a time slot that suits you now.

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