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Mother tongue, newly-arrived children and students

For children and young people with a mother tongue other than Swedish, Umeå Municipality offers different kinds of instruction and support based on the child's needs. A child's mother tongue plays a huge role in their identity and self-esteem and is the foundation for their ability to learn. It makes it easier for the child to learn a second language and other subjects.

Mother tongue tuition and mother tongue support

The aim of mother tongue tuition is to enable the student to best utilise their work in school while at the same time developing their bilingual identity and skills. The work shall be done in forms that promote the student's personal development and strengthen their self-esteem. Mother tongue instructors often come from the same cultural area as the students. Mother tongue instructors have good knowledge of the Swedish language and Swedish society.

Mother tongue support is available for pre-school age children and is provided for 60 minutes a week at the child's pre-school. Mother tongue tuition is its own subject in compulsory school and upper secondary school and is provided for either 40 minutes a week (compulsory school) or 70 minutes a week(upper secondary school).

Mother tongue tuition eligibility requirements

To be eligible for mother tongue support/mother tongue tuition, one or both of the student's guardians must have a mother tongue other than Swedish and that language must be the student's daily language in the home. For a pre-school child to be eligible for mother language support, the child must be at least three years old.

The following requirements must also be met:

  • The child/student must have basic knowledge of the language.
  • A suitable teacher is available
  • At least five children/students are registered.

For adopted children with a different mother tongue, the language does not have to be child's daily language in the home.

National minority language, special provisions

Special provisions apply for children and students who speak any of the national minority languages, namely Sami, Meänkieli, Romani Chib, Yiddish or Finnish. Mother tongue tuition must be offered even if the language is not the student's daily language in the home and even if only one student is registered.

For students studying Sami, the Sami school curriculum must be followed.

For newly-arrived children and students

Children and young people who are new arrivals to Sweden have the option of participating in preparatory pre-school or instruction for new arrivals. Newly-arrived compulsory school students begin at one of Umeå Municipality's schools: Hedlundaskolan and Ålidhemsskolan for students in pre-school class up through grade 6, or Tegs centralskola and Ersängsskolan for students in grades 7–9. Upon consultation with the reception centre, students can begin immediately in another school chosen by their guardian. Upper secondary school-aged students begin with language introduction.

“Preparatory pre-school” is pre-school for children who recently arrived from another country. “Instruction for new arrivals in a special group” refers to compulsory school classes for newly-arrived students from another country. Children and students involved in these activities are children of guest researchers at Umeå University, refugees, asylum seekers or immigrants who have come to Sweden for various reasons.

For children living in Umeå temporarily

Children of families who are living in Umeå temporarily, such as children of guest researchers, are entitled to childcare and to go to school. Umeå also has night-time care available for children aged 1–12 whose parents work during inconvenient working hours (evenings, nights and weekends). Hedlundaskolan and Ålidhemsskolan accepts students who want to learn the Swedish language. Umeå also has Språkförskolan (Language Pre-School) and Språkskolan (Language School), which offer instruction in another language. School is not offered during school holiday periods when the school is closed. To be eligible for childcare during the summer holidays, the guardian must have applied for and been offered a place in a pre-school or leisure-time centre.


090-16 27 21

More information

Apply to compulsory school
(in Swedish)

Guardians must apply for mother language tuition or mother language support for their child.

Independent schools and preschools

Språkskolan and Språkförskolan:
(in Swedish)

"Internationella Engelska skolan":

Information about the Swedish school system in other languages


Råd från myndigheter/advice from authorities: