Active maternity leave

Last updated: 11/28/2019

Oslo Adult Education Rosenhof and the Gamle Oslo district offer post-natal groups with childminders provided topic-based Norwegian language tuition in a safe environment for women with refugee backgrounds. The #Aktivmammaperm (Active maternity leave) scheme is a voluntary provision intended to ensure progress in Norwegian language proficiency and prevent loneliness during maternity leave.

  • CHALLENGES: Women on maternity leave have been found to have poorer progress than other participants taking the introduction programme. Women have few activities on offer during their maternity leave and some women also leave the introduction programme when their child is born.
  • MEASURES: The women are offered Norwegian language and social studies tuition corresponding to eight classes a week. The classes are divided between a group session and homework. Certified childminders with the same mother tongue look after the children during the group sessions.
  • RESULTS: The mothers’ work-related basic skills and knowledge of social studies improves and their Norwegian proficiency is maintained. They also return more quickly to the introduction programme when their maternity leave ends. The measure also provides an important meeting place and social arena.

About the measure

#Aktivmammaperm is a voluntary offer for women on maternity leave from the introduction programme. The measure provides simple, elementary and practical Norwegian language and social studies tuition. The course descriptions cover topics that the women need knowledge of, including information about diet and nutrition, health and child care, family and parenting, and knowledge about the public services such as kindergarten and school, NAV, cultural activities in the local community and civil society. It is possible to register year-round. The measure comprises eight hours per week. There is one weekly session, which concludes with a group lunch, and four hours of homework using the digital learning platform ‘Its Learning’.

Regardless of their Norwegian language proficiency, background and ethnicity, the participants face the same challenges and wonder about the same things as nearly all mothers, and the project has therefore proved to be an important and safe meeting point for the women. The measure is also a social arena where the women share their experience and advice. While the tuition is taking place, certified female childminders with the same mother tongue as the mothers look after the children. Through their positive experience with the childminders, the participants are more trusting of the local kindergartens when their maternity leave ends.

Oslo Adult Education Rosenhof and the Gamle Oslo district also cooperate with external actors and representatives from different public bodies that take part in the training. Kindergartens, the child welfare service, health centres, the Red Cross, family welfare centres, psychologists and physiotherapists are examples of actors and institutions that wish to get in touch with the target group to inform the participants about important topics.

How to get going

  • Establish a good cooperation between refugee services/introduction programmes and adult education.
  • Define the target group and assess how many participants are expected to make up this group going forward. Is the offer for refugees and/or immigrants, women and/or men, pregnant women etc.? 
  • Map the activities available and potential partners in the public and non-profit sector in the local community.
  • Clarify roles and what is expected of one another before entering into binding cooperation with other parties. 
  • Employ women with the same linguistic background for the role as childminders 
  • Use people with refugee and immigrant backgrounds as role models, mentors and bridge builders.

Contact information

Ylva Drage, deputy rector of Rosenhof, email:

Linn-Camilla Elvenes, contact person in the Gamle Oslo district, email: