Multiculturalism in Árborg
Árborg has become a very multicultural municipality. Over 830 people with foreign citizenship live here together with many residents with multicultural background who are already Icelandic citizens. They come from different backgrounds, have diverse experiences, cultures and education and thus they enrich the municipality.
Many students in preschools and compulsory schools of the Árborg Municipality have multicultural backgrounds and diverse origin. In most cases, both parents use a different language than Icelandic, but this group also includes children whose one parent´s mother tongue is Icelandic. A total of 27 languages is spoken in preschools and compulsory schools of the municipality. The largest group are children whose parents speak Polish and children whose parents speak English.
Various services are offered for individuals with diverse backgrounds by the Árborg Municipality as well as by other institutions and NGOs. These include Municipal Libraries with a selection of books and magazines in many languages; Strókur, activity and rehabilitation centre with regular meetings; activities provided by the Red Cross and Icelandic courses available in Fræðslunet Suðurlands.
A professional group was created in the Árborg Municipality in 2015, focused on planning and policy making for multilingual students in the local schools and their families. The group, called the Multicultural Team (Fjölmenningarteymi), consists of representatives from all local preschools and compulsory schools and representatives from school services and social services. Members of the team meet regularly. In 2020, representatives from the local upper secondary school, Fjölbrautaskóli Suðurlands (FSu) became members of the team as well.
Below are examples of some successful collaborative projects:
Reading together (Lesum saman)
One of the projects is called "Reading together". It is a cooperation between Red Cross, Family Division of the Árborg Municipality and local compulsory schools that began in autumn 2019. The main objective of the project is to support reading of bi- and multilingual students from grades 1-3. Volunteers from Red Cross offer their assistance once a week in each school in Selfoss.
Learning together (Lærum saman)
Another project is called "Learning together". It is a cooperation between the Association of Senior Citizens, Family Division of the Árborg Municipality and local compulsory schools and began in spring of 2017. The main objective of the project is to support reading of bi- and multilingual students from grades 4-7 and assist them in learning process. Volunteers from the Association of Senior Citizens offer their assistance once a week in each school in Selfoss.