Early childhood education and care in Finland

Hello parents and others. In this blog post we’ll be summarizing some relevant key points about our early childhood education and care (ECEC) here in Finland. We chose to write in English, as we’re aware of the amount of families from different nationalities around the world that have made Finland their current home.

The Finnish National Agency for Education has drawn up The Curriculum for ECEC which all day-care centers in Finland must follow. The curriculum is updated every once in a while, to fit our society’s current views in teaching and raising children. When a child becomes part of the day-care system, they’ll have a personal curriculum created for them. The teachers create said curriculum in cooperation with the child and their parents. The curriculum is used to realize the child’s personal strengths and resources and also meet their individual needs. This curriculum is referred to and adjusted regularly.

The Finnish Curriculum for ECEC is based on child orientated education which means that we want to organize all our day-care activities and education around the child. This means that we observe every child individually and take notice of their interests and strengths and also encourage them to voice their own suggestions and opinions. We believe that when children can participate in creating their activities and learning environments their learning experiences will be much more memorable and meaningful.

We want to create a learning environment that entices children’s innate interest for exploring and trying out new things. Children’s individual potential can be realized with goal-directed activities that are interesting and adaptively challenging for them. Also, every child in Finland has the right to receive proper assistance to support their personal needs.

Play is very important in our day-care’s everyday activities. We understand the meaningfulness of play and its possibilities to improve children’s wellbeing and learning. Childs play is a form of motivational and entertaining activity which helps them to grasp and realize the world around them. We make sure that our everyday activities include equally enough of guided and free play.

We believe that working in close collaboration with the parents we can create a trusting and respectful relationship to support the children’s wellbeing and growth. This means, all parents should be given an opportunity to partake in the planning, actualizing and the assessment of their child’s curriculum.

In recent years due to the progressing internationalization and global warming, two important sections in The Curriculum for ECEC have especially been accentuated: ‘Cultural awareness, interactions and self-expression‘ as well as ‘Self-care and everyday skills’. We want to teach children to be kind and understanding towards each other as well as other cultures. This we achieve by using diverse teaching tools and making the learning environment culturally rich and intriguing for everyone. Furthermore, it is also important that children learn to respect our nature and climate. We teach children recycling at a young age so that they can ensure themselves a more stable and unpolluted future.

This blog post has been a quick summary of our early childhood education and care system and some of its contents which will hopefully be helpful to people such as immigrants and non-Finnish speakers. Thank you for reading.

Lassi and Pauliina
Future ECEC teachers