About the Nightingale Mentoring concept

The Nightingale Mentoring concept was born in 1997 in Malmö to facilitate meetings between university students and school children.  Taken from the bird that sings so beautifully when it feels safe, the name  also links to Malmö, the town of Hjalmar Gullberg, the writer for whom the nightingale provided such great inspiration.  Since 1997, more than 1 000 children and 1 000 students have participated in the Nightingale Mentoring Programme in Malmö.

In the Nightingale Mentoring concept, a university student get paired with one mentor child between the ages of 8 and 12. The mentor and child get together for 2-3 hours once a week over a period extending from October to May.

The aim of the concept

During recent years, the question of social and ethnic diversity has come sharply into focus. In order to improve diversity in universities there is a need to recruit students from cultures and societies where there is little or no tradition of children being involved in higher education studies. The Nightingale Mentoring concept is one effective instrument that, in the long run, can help to redress what is at the moment a major imbalance in our society.

The idea behind the concept is that the mentor gives the child a positive role model by establishing a personal relationship with the mentor child. This in turn helps strengthen the child’s personal and social confidence. The goal is that the child will perform better in school and in private and will be more likely to apply for university when the time comes. The concept is based on the idea of “mutual benefit” – benefit for both child and student.

The vision of the Nightingale Mentoring concept is to work towards greater multicultural and ethnic diversity within society’s institutions. The overall aspiration is that mentor children are able to make marked progress both inside and outside of school and that a broader range of young adults will apply for university or college.

The aim is that children:

– Through a relationship with an adult, gain new experience and knowledge.
– Will receive an adult role model – a student at a University.
– Will improve their self confidence.

The aim is that mentors:

– Will be an adult role model in a close relationship with a child.
– Gain an insight into a child’s life (and family), an increased knowledge, understanding and empathy for people who lead lives completely different to their own. This, in turn, will prove to be an asset as they continue their higher education courses and then in their subsequent professional careers.