Finnish ECE - Learning outdoors!

Finnish Early Childhood Education - Learning outdoors!

By Laura Lahin

June 17th, 2021

2 minutes read

The last two blogs have been about Finnish ECE (Early Childhood Education) and the pedagogy within. As has been said, in Finnish kindergartens learning is considered to happen all the time, and there are not separate periods or recess. There are no subjects either! Instead, there are so-called transversal competencies in the National core curriculum for early childhood education and care. These contain skills that children in ECE start learning early on.

Transversal competencies are:

  • Thinking and learning
  • Cultural competencies, interaction, and self-expression
  • Taking care of oneself and managing daily life
  • Multiliteracy and competence in information and communication technology
  • Participation and involvement

The content orientations and themes are:

  • The rich world of languages (Learning language and strengthening linguistic identities.)
    In the center of this learning area are linguistic development and the ability to express oneself effectively and in versatile ways through language(s).
  • Diverse forms of expression (Art education.)
    This learning area is about learning to express one’s own emotions, thinking, and worldviews in different ways and forms of art.
  • Me and our community (Children are learning about ethics, world views, and community’s history, present time, and future.)
    This learning area focuses on understanding and learning about the community and communities a child belongs to and lives in, and how to interact with them and be an active participant of the communities.
  • Exploring and interacting with my environment (STEM education)
    This learning area means that children are guided to interpret, get to know, and learn to operate in the different environments, for example, natural and built ones, they live in and learn to appreciate them through forming a relationship with them.
  • “I grow, I move, and I develop” (Children are learning about food, exercising and sports, health, and safety.)
    This learning area’s purpose is to support children in physical development, motoric skills, and knowing and appreciating one’s body as a whole

These are also the themes Yuyu Curious products are built upon.

Finnish ECE - Learning outdoors!

Transversal competencies in Finnish ECE

In Finnish kindergartens, the pedagogy is based on these transversal competencies and learning areas. They are separate, but they all appear overlapping in the activities. It is common to explore a phenomenon from different perspectives, through STEM, visual art, language, drama… And at the same time, children learn about STEM, visual art, language, and drama! All this might sound a little messy, but when you get the hang of it, it is wonderful!

Love of the outdoors

Finnish folk loves the outdoors, and we spend time outside every day, even if it is raining cats and dogs. Well, not if it is stormy or -20 Celsius degrees, but otherwise, every day! Being outside is considered to be very healthy. Children get more exercise, and being in nature strengthens the immune system. Almost all Finnish kindergartens have at least a small forest area close by, so field trips are weekly.