By Natalia Avayu
July 3, 2024

Between ages six and sixteen, Danish children are taught to understand others and trust that they can rely on other people.

With the world approaching crisis and social issues of all kinds, people tend to look at countries that seem to have their problems under control in search of inspiration or ideas to face their own struggles. According to what most people think, Northern Europe, particularly Denmark and Scandinavia, seems to be the one place in the world which holds the best answers. If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you won’t take long to find stories and news reports about things that these countries have done differently, managing impressive results.

We all know that Denmark ranks highly in multiple world development indicators, among them, being one of the happiest countries in the world. Another one is the quality of their education. Danish people have made drastic changes to their education system, prioritizing learning and shaping children above academic scores.

One of the most interesting things about the Danish educational model is how much emphasis they put on shaping children’s minds as people and as members of society. To accomplish this, they hold special lessons focused on developing skills that have been claimed as key to a good coexistence.

Most notably, their empathy lessons stand out. Children between ages six and sixteen have one hour a week for sitting down and getting guided around developing the skill of caring about others.

Specifically, the class consists of different lessons built on the basis of putting the children in situations where they’ll be able to learn to develop and value empathy towards their classmates. One by one, children get asked to talk about their problems in life, while the rest of their classmates listen and pay attention. With the help of a teacher, the children seek ways to solve each child’s problems, looking for creative but grounded ways to navigate difficult situations.

The important thing is that children realize that their problems may be particular to them but they’re also something that happens to everyone. Due to this, they mustn’t be afraid of showing vulnerability or unable to deal with a difficult situation. Part of empathizing is having the confidence to open up about our issues, without fear of being judged.

Finally, the advantages and good results obtained by the Nordic European people come from taking the time to tackle problems that, in other parts of the world, we don’t consider important. Maths and humanities are key, but nothing is more important that knowing how to live with others.