Parents and children enthusiastically gather together to preserve and protect their strong Swedish roots and the language itself.
Every two weeks, the Swedish American Museum, Chicago, presents "Bullerbyn," a time when children are given the opportunity to sing Swedish songs, read stories and play. Ages 6 months to 6 years are welcome with their parents.
Lesli Nordstrom, museum marketing assistant, helps run the program and sees it as a tool to keep the Swedish heritage alive and well. As Andersonville becomes more and more diverse, the museum does its utmost to keep their culture alive and current, she says.
When the program starts, everyone gathers in a circle—some children on a parent's lap and some on their own. They start with a few songs that involve audience participation and interaction with one another. Then they break into groups for a story, one for the older children and one for the younger. After the program is over, they are all encouraged to play together in the Brunk Children's Museum.
Nordstrom explained that children find it more desirable to speak Swedish if it's "cool." She said, “No one wants to be in the grocery store and have their parents speak that strange language that no one understands.” As children interact and have fun with other children who speak Swedish, it is more likely they will want to as well.
Bullerbyn is held every other Sunday morning from 10:15-11:15. Classes are free for members and $5 for non-members. Reservations are recommended and can be made by emailing or by calling (773) 728-8111. The Swedish American Museum is located at 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640.

Eva Larson, Chicago