I have been corresponding with Dr. Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson, she is a professer and head of the Education, Communication, and Learning Department at University of Gothenburg in Sweden. I have had a few email conversations with Ingrid about the issues facing preschool children and teachers in her area. She talked about the changes that are happening in the curriculum. In the past individual districts and even teachers were allowed to choose the types of curriculum they used. There were no national tests given to children in the early years. Currently the Government is looking at providing a National Curriculum for all schools and possibily lowering testing ages.
Dr. Samuelsson has written several papers and co authored books in Sweden. Some of those papers have been reprinted in English. She gave me a reading list of her papers on these issues. I have read two of them already. The first paper was a comparison how teachers regarded the importance of play in Sweden, Japan and the U.S. It was an interesting paper and from the answers to the survey questions, it appears as if Sweden places the highest value on play folowed by the US, and then Japan. Although, all of the teachers stated the importance of allowing children time to be creative.
The second international contact I have made is with Maria Hill. She is a child care provider at the YMCA in Calgary Canada. Maria and I have talked about poverty in Calgary. She feels that it is very similar to the US in that they have a lot of immigrant families that have migrated to Canada and face language and cultural barriers. The types of funding for programs there are are very similar to what we have here. There are government funds available for families who cannot pay for preschool but those who can afford it pay for preschool and childcare.
I look forward to hearing from both of my contacts and enjoy learning about the issues and trends in the various countries. I wish more of the emails I sent had been returned, this is a very interesting assignment.
Pramling Samuelsson, I. (2007). Democracy: The Curriculum Foundation for Swedish Preschool. In R. New & M. Cochran (Eds.), Early Childhood Education – An International Early Childhood Encyclopedia. Vol. 4, pp. 1270-1273. Westport: Praeger Publ. 
Pramling Samuelsson, I. & Fleer, M. (2009). Commonalities and Distinctions Across Countries. In I. Pramling Samuelsson & M. Fleer (Eds.), Play and learning in early childhood settings: International perspectives, Vol. 1, pp. 173-190. New York: Springer Verlag.  (GUP 86890)