The Icelandic National Curriculum Guides for Preschools, Compulsory Schools and Upper Secondary Schools: Health and Wellbeing One of Six Fundamental Pillars of Education – Iceland


The National Curriculum Guide is a policy framework for Icelandic schools across educational levels: children in pre-schools (2-5 years), compulsory schools (6-15 years) and upper secondary schools (mainly 16-19 years). In 2011, new National Curriculum Guides for pre-, compulsory and upper secondary schools were published in Iceland by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. In that policy a milestone was made by defining “health and wellbeing” as one of the six fundamental pillars of education, thereby confirming the importance of health and wellbeing for education and vice versa. The policy describes the role of education in schools according to Icelandic laws and regulations, the objectives and organization of school operations and the requirements and rights of everyone in the school community. Six fundamental pillars have been developed within this framework that forms the essence of the educational policy in Iceland. In addition to “health and wellbeing”, the other pillars are “literacy”, “sustainability”, “democracy and human rights”, “equality” and “creativity”. The main health factors that are to be encouraged are: positive self-image, physical activity, nutrition, rest, mental wellbeing, positive communication, security, hygiene, sexual health and understanding of one’s own feelings and those of others. The National Curriculum Guide and particularly the pillar “health and wellbeing” is an important foundation for the Health Promoting School projects. The well-established Health Promoting School project likewise provides an important support for schools to implement the pillar “health and wellbeing” in all their work. The number of Health Promoting Municipalities is also increasing and one of their priorities is to encourage and motivate their schools to take part in the Health Promoting School projects.


Additional information:

(last accessed in March 2017)

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Life Cycle Stages: Early Childhood | School Age | 
Main Settings: school | 
Specific Topics: mental health | nutrition | physical activity | sexuality | 

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