happy child holding jacket and cute clothes

Finnish Early Childhood Education - Learning All Day Long

By Laura Lahin

May 31st, 2021

2 minutes read

The Finnish education system is known worldwide, mostly for the country’s success in international PISA tests. The education system has been a source of astonishment since it doesn’t seem to contain anything special compared to other countries. In this and the next two blogs, you will learn about Finnish Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Finnish pedagogy!


The Secret Ingredient to High-Quality Finnish Education

We believe that one very important reason for the high-quality education in Finland is professional, committed, and autonomous teachers. Already in the Finnish kindergartens, you can find highly educated professionals – teachers with bachelor’s degrees work with kids as young as one year (and younger) Other caregivers have at least an upper secondary degree in healthcare. 

All children from 0-6 years old have a right to attend ECE and 6-year-olds have one year of obligatory pre-primary education before the first school year. Child’s early childhood education fees for families are maximum of 289 euros and a minimum of 27 euros per month. The price depends on the family’s income and the number of children. (If this topic piques your interest, read more here)

Finnish early childhood education is a combination of education, teaching, and care. Pedagogy is an important part of the curriculum too. The national core curriculum for early childhood education and care guides ECE nationwide, and municipalities also have local curriculums.


What does this all mean in practice?

It’s called “full-time pedagogy”, or a more funny term would be “pedagogy all day long”. This means that there is no real separation between periods and recess. Children learn and grow 24/7, so every situation during the day is seen as a learning opportunity. Education, teaching, and care are seen as a whole. Care and nurture offer great opportunities for early years learning. Practicing pedagogy “all day long” is really demanding and it requires teachers to really know what children need and to have high knowledge of early year’s pedagogy.

Let’s get more practical! During the day in kindergarten small children dress up to go outside and this sometimes takes time. (If you are a parent, let’s say, of a 3-year old, you might have a clue what this means.) How can this situation – a simple dressing up to go outside, be planned to offer opportunities to learn a language?


Naming body parts

Body parts’ names are important vocabulary for children. They learn to know themselves. In addition, it makes it easier to tell where it hurts if you know the name of the body part. Dressing up is a really good situation to name body parts together with your child! Where does the sock go, what about the hat? The older the child is, the more precisely the vocabulary can be used (for example hand, arm, finger, shoulder, elbow, wrist, palm, names of the fingers).

Exercise! Put all the clothes on the floor. Take turns to guess which piece of clothing is next.
Example: “This piece of clothing covers your arms, chest, back, and belly. “Jacket!”


Exploring language through clothing-themed vocabulary

The shirt starts with S! What is a shirt backward? Are there other clothes that start with S? Are there clothes that start with the same letter as your name? There are many ways to learn letters, and it doesn’t have to happen in the classroom by the desks. Children love exploring and learning new things in active ways.

Exercise! Can you form your child’s name using clothes?

Sources: National core curriculum for early childhood education and care