Fifteen years ago I bought the Gamla Byskolan (The old village school) and the first thing I did was to invite the people in the village to a meeting, so that I could explain to them what I would be doing in the school, to avoid confusion. I told to them it was a privilege to be able to work in an old village school. I made the point that I was just the caretaker and that the school still belonged to the people in the village. I promised to take care of it. We started on a project of giving the school makeover, both internally and externally.
During these 15 years many people have visited the school, some have come out of curiosity, many of them former students of the school and they were very happy about what they saw. Gamla Byskolan,s name has spread far and wide. Many people who have come here has said it has been like coming home.
After the tsunami in December 2004, I had the privilege to work with people who had lost family and friends in that catastrophe. I decided to invite them to a special ceremony that would be conducted by a Buddhist monk with a very good reputation. It was going to be a day to say farewell to loved ones. It was a small ceremony where the pond was blessed and the people present. Afterwards they said they finally had been able to find closure. Many children passed because of that horrific disaster. I have always said that the school belongs to the children. In the events where we have had children present, we have had a lot of fun. We have experienced a lot of days with joy and laughter for both adults and children alike.
However, after many years I decided that it was time to pass the school on to someone else. My hopes and wishes were that it would go to someone with the same feeling as I have about children. Suddenly one day a member of Kokillen parental cooperative contacted me and showed interest in buying the school. There were other parties interested as well, but my thoughts were the school must go to people who have a love of children. I already knew a little about Kokillen, but after having talked to them I just knew the school had to be passed on to them and no one else. The deciding factor was that the cooperative is a no profit-making organisation. Their focus is not on making money, it is about the care and the wellbeing of the child. I believe that they are good people and what they will do and achieve with the school I am sure will reach far and wide. It will give the children a sense of freedom and a possibility to discover who they are.
In my work I hear the word spirituality often, the people from Kokillen they have it; they are genuine and down to earth people. If I were looking for a preschool to send my child, I would turn to Kokillen and their professional team. So, it is with great satisfaction and joy that we finalise everything and hand over the keys on Monday. I will breath a sigh of relief.
From my heart I wish them well and I am sure as they develop with their team and philosophy it will come together with the school. I have no doubt that the spirit of Gamla Byskolan will match their spirit. I am sure Gamla Byskolan will give them happiness and the freedom to develop as a team.
All I can say now is: Bon voyage and may the spirit of the school be at the helm of your ship! Good luck!