In the past, Finland had prescribed curriculum guides running over 700 pages, now the national math curriculum is under 10 pages. I was sad to have left such a nurturing community. I’ve yet to see first grade teachers who use class time for unstructured play. The early focus on playtime doesn't seem to hold students back when it comes to literacy later in their education. If these children are going to school half a day and coming home to an empty house where they have deeper more meaningful play, why is that? Although first graders in Finland usually spend just four hours at school, these break times obviously reduce the total number of hours that they log in the classroom. I attended an “English speaking” school in Helsinki from 1956 to 1959 (grades 3-5) because my father had a diplomatic assignment there. According to Johanna, Finnish children started first grade at age seven. As someone who has gone trough most of the Finnish system (I’m an uni student at the moment) I can tell that the 30% not going to the afternoon clubs don’t necessarily spend their afternoons home. As a first grade teacher in the States, I found that the afternoon was the toughest part of the school day. In America most children go home and watch TV, play video games or play on the computer or iPhone. jumping rope and local sports field were the only things we could play with. A curriculum reform adopted by the Finnish National Agency for Education in 2016 set key goals that I think are clear reflections of the Finnish approach to education: enhancing pupil participation, increasing the meaningfulness of learning and enabling every pupil to feel successful in their academic and social-emotional learning. This figure includes most of the severely disabled children (smithsonian.com) #27 43% of those students in further education (16+) attend vocational school. Very good thing to have even though it was never a problem when we had only the landline. I would like to know this as well. It’s already possible because many municipalities, including Helsinki, already offer early language teaching,” commented Grahn-Laasonen. We in Finland understand the true value and promise of digitalization. The curriculum is an educational tool shaped by the decision making of many different administrative levels. I was exhausted, too. In Finland, the main materials for teaching mathematics and science are textbooks published by commercial publishers. 9-9:45 math This is why shortening the number of school hours for young children is sensible. It varies a bit by town, school and group. What I have seen, however, is a school structure that provides children with more opportunities to play. Timothy D. Walker is an American teacher living in Finland and the author of the new book Teach Like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms. He is a contributing writer on education issues for The Atlantic. “We know a lot more about the sensitive periods of children to learn new things today,” she explained. I loved outside of Lahti (Vierumaki) for a year.. and I’m now teaching K-1… It is a struggle every day for me to not feel these things you wrote about in this piece. Ironically, my fifth graders in Helsinki have less class time each day than the first graders I used to teach in the Greater Boston area. However, we had 2 hours of non-academic activities every afternoon, and many breaks for outside play throughout the day. © ABYZ OU. Her close Finnish friend, a first grade teacher in Helsinki, worked about 30 hours each week, including prep time. Research has shown that these breaks can boost concentration in the classroom. Finland has a national core curriculum, which includes the identification of the core subjects, curriculum frameworks and a clear definition of how much time each topic should be allocated. It is tax funded and therefore free-of-charge for families. In Finland, students in the younger grades have less hours of school than the older ones. This post was originally published during the 2013-2014 school year. This is the type of play that helps children to develop creativity and analytical thinking. Carol Lambert When my students returned from lunch and recess around 1:00 PM, I noticed a sharp drop in their energy levels. FYI, I will be republishing a blog post soon where I’ll share what I learned when I spent an afternoon with first and second graders at my Helsinki school. (Photo credit: Mathieudu68). I was also stranded in a boring suburb with no access to public transportation. But what I noticed at my Helsinki school — where 70% of first and second graders attend the subsidized “afternoon club” — is that most children are spending several hours of each weekday engaged in deep play. There is about 20 hours of tuition per week for lower grades and more for higher grades. At many schools, teachers don’t grade students until the fifth grade, and they aren’t forced to organize curriculum … Every day I see first graders who thrive with shorter school days in Finland. But in the meantime you’d probably be interested in this recent article, “After the school day in Finland, play and more play”: http://youthtoday.org/2015/10/after-the-school-day-in-finland-play-and-more-play/. In the fall, first graders all across Finland are just getting their feet wet as readers. Tuuli My daughter’s kindergarten class has such low hands on activities for learning (mostly worksheets), that’s what I’d like to know! I guess I just wanted to share my experiences even though this is probably a long and mostly useless comment. Educational Curriculum in Finland 1. Schools started to work according to the new curriculum in August 2016 for grades 1 … We were in school Mon through Sat, from 8:30 AM to 4 PM. There is mounting pressure to increase the amount of time that American students spend in school. I am a home school mom in Texas and find the articles on Finland schools fascinating! The core curriculum provides a common direction and basis for renewing school education and instruction. Finnish children have traditionally begun learning a foreign language – most typically English – in the third grade, just as they have passed the optimal age for language learning, highlights Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP), the Minister of Education. Brief Description With its high levels of educational achievement and attainment, Finland is regarded as one of the world’s most literate societies. Free First Grade Curriculum. This, she tells, is the primary reason why all first-graders will start learning a foreign language as of the spring term of 2020. In those days Finland was struggling to recover from the costs of WWII, and there was also a strong effort for universal literacy, so school was a bit different .The Finnish government invited a group of American nuns to establish an English Language school to help promote multilingual skills for Finnish students, at least I think that’s why they were there. The core curriculum provides a common direction and basis for renewing school education and instruction. Also the weekly timetables or curriculum, school day start and end times, and semester start and end dates vary a little from town to town and even from school to school. We children had our duties, principally to show respect to adults, but the rewards were great. Unlike Johanna’s friend, I was pulling in 50-hour weeks of teaching and planning. Usually between ice time and practice on dry land (where the break was sometimes two hours!) Instructional Materials, Equipment, and Laboratories.
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