Kindergarten teacher Fred Buljo

By journalist Kjersti Salvesen March 10th 2020
(This article was originally printed in the magazine, First Step (Første steg) number 1, 2020, so there are a few facts which are not correct here in second publishing.)
Article translated from
Translated by
Linda Karina Brandt Rasmussen

Is a kindergarten teacher: The artist, Fred Buljo, from KEiiNO, is an educated kindergarten teacher. It was a male employee in the kindergarten he went to as a child, who inspired him to that. Photo: Khoa Dang Do

KEiiNO-Fred became a kindergarten teacher, thanks to a male employee who inspired him when he was a child himself.

KEiiNO-Fred became a kindergarten teacher, thanks to a male employee who inspired him when he was a child himself.

As a child, Fred Buljo had his first performance in a Sami kindergarten, in scoundrel-language. There the KEiiNO-artist was inspired to get an education as a kindergarten teacher.

Matthis played differently than the female kindergarten teachers. Matthis often sat on the floor, and the play was more physical.

In Gártnetluohkka kindergarten in Kautokeino in Finnmark, worked a man, Matthis, and he was very popular amongst us children. He played differently than the female kindergarten teachers. Matthis often sat on the floor, and the play was much more physical. Outdoors he threw us into the snow and romped around along with us, the Sami musician, rapper and joiker, Fred Buljo (31) in KEiiNO tells, known from Melodigrandprix (Norweigan ESC selections – Red.)

Kindergarten teacher a role model

Other than being an artist and producer, Fred is also an educated kindergarten teacher.

  • Matthis was a temporary, and especially us guys loved him so much that we hoped that some of the permanents were ill so that Matthis came into work. He made a huge impression. Matthis became a role model for me – and has contributed to my choice of becoming a kindergarten teacher, says Fred.
Kindergarten boy: Fred learned how to use a knife in kindergarten as a three-year-old and it happened that they drove in sleigh with reindeer. Photo: Private

Fred also chose the kindergarten job because he is burning to continue the Sami language and culture. Right now Fred as leave to work with his music, but usually he works in the Samie kindergarten, Cizás at Tøyen in Oslo.

Wants to continue the Sami culture

  • To continue the language and the culture to future generations is important to me. A lot of children going to Sami kindergarten today, think its difficult to speak Sami, even though they understand it. There’s a very subtle balance between making it pleasureable and the kids perceive it as coercion, says Fred.

He thinks that the most important thing he does as a kindergarten teacher, is to see everyone for the person they are, and give them the room to develop in a personal way. He worked as a family kindergarten while he was doing bachelor studies in psychology in Tromsø.

Fred Buljo (31)

  • Artist and kindergarten teacher, won the Norweigan Melodi Grand Prix-finale in 2019 with the band, KEiiNO.
  • From: Kautekeino in Finnmark.
  • Lives in: Oslo.
  • Family: His family lives in Kautokeino.
  • Currently: On the occasion of FN’s year of indigenous languages, KEiiNO release their debut album February 7th
  • I thrived really well in kindergarten and when I sat and read the psychology curriculum, I realized I was more interested in pedagogy than in psychology. It’s interesting to see how much we can affect the kids in kindergarten, says Fred, who finished his education as a kindergarten teacher in 2014.

Reindeer and sleigh

Fred started kindergarten as a two-year-old and has a lot of good memories. Fred went to three different kindergartens in Kautokeino: Ájastealli, Ájagohppi and Gártnetluohkka, which were right across the street from where he lived.

  • I walked alone to kindergarten the last year before I started school. My mum would stand on the porch and wave to me, tells Fred. The 31-year old liked to ride with reindeer and sled in kindergarten.
  • It was fun to experience this, especially for us who didn’t have reindeer in the family. In general, I loved being out in nature. We learned how to use a knife already as three-year-olds, to contribute to the fire, he says. Fred also thinks it was exciting to learn about Sami culture: how reindeer were slaughtered, and not least the music. It was in kindergarten he had has very first performances.
  • We created a scene and performed for each other. The adults urged us to be creative in different ways. I loved to come up with my own songs in scoundrel-language. I think I tried to make it sound like English says Fred, with a big grin.

Are still good friends

The only thing Fred remembers he didn’t like to do in kindergarten, was pearling. Advent was the favorite-period with the scent from candle lights, the darkness outside and the Christmas songs. It created a special closeness which he really liked. Fred still has close contact with a lot of his friends from kindergarten.

  • Kautokeino is a small place and we followed each other onto school, and a lot of us have moved to Oslo. I lived with several of my friends from kindergarten while I studied. It’s a little funny, because it’s the solid, safe core from the childhood, I still hang out with today, the artist says.