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 Early Childhood Education (ECE) 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.)
  • Diverse forms of expression (Art education.)
  • Me and our community (Children are learning about ethics, world views, and community’s history, present time, and future.)
  • Exploring and interacting with my environment (STEM education)
  • “I grow, I move, and I develop” (Children are learning about food, exercising and sports, health, and safety.)
Learning outdoors

Transversal competencies 

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.