Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
The application for the local barnehage system is a little tricky to understand and navigate, but the local barnehages are pretty excellent. We had two children use the one in our neighborhood and it was overwhelmingly positive. We were sad to take our youngest back to the American preschool. There is a rating system for barnehages in the city, but finding out which barnehages are good in Baerum kommune is mostly via word of mouth. Kids at least a year old are guaranteed a spot, but you may not get your top choice. It is much harder to get a spot at your barnehage of choice in the city. Easier to do so in the suburbs. - Jan 2020
The process of getting into local preschools seemed like a nightmare, and no one at post was helping the incoming families. Norwegian preschools, which cost about $400 a month, were just OK from what I heard. No one was ecstatic about it. Oslo International School has a preschool for a much higher tuition than Norwegian preschools (cost similar to the US). DOD people could afford it and they seemed to like it. - Dec 2016
Yes, organized daycare (barnehage) is available for 12 months and up. Can be a little hard to get a slot at your desired barnehage the first year, and babies are only guaranteed a slot from the fall in which they are 12 mos. In other words, if your kid is born in October, you may have to wait almost 2 years, at least if you are picky about location. Our barnehage was comparable to a good (not fantastic!) U.S. day care, but cost less than US$500/month. - Dec 2015
The previously-mentioned barnehages are everywhere, but there can still be a wait to get into one. Some are utebarnehagen, which means they are primarily based outside for most of the day. Yes, there are 2-5-year olds in Norway who spend most of the day outside. The come home filthy and exhausted but love every second. Norway is the land of free-range parenting, so don't be surprised if your child has spent a day hiking with a campfire along the way, or if they come home telling you about learning to whittle. Because at school that day, they handed out knives to a bunch of little kids and taught knife safety while cutting sticks (my son was proud that he hadn't cut himself, but other kids did)! Kids are allowed to climb and jump and play, and the resulting scrapes and injuries are expected and handled (and no one sues)! - Jun 2015
Most people I know with young children send them to their local Norwegian preschool - good and heavily subsidized. - Aug 2011