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. In my mind, free play was babyish. During the afternoon, I often felt the urge to give my young students time for unstructured play. “We know a lot more about the sensitive periods of children to learn new things today,” she explained. The American nuns were strict and some could be very cruel, so the days were not always happy ones for the kids. Love this…. I had a phone but it had no games and it was only for calling my parents if I needed something. First grade starts at age 7 and ends at 15, a nine-year basic education system called Comprehensive school, compulsory education for 9 years. It varies a bit by town, school and group. What is a typical day in third grade? Our school days lasted seven hours. 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. I was sad to have left such a nurturing community. The Curriculum in Finland Researcher: Mark Ryan A. Lastrilla I. Brief Description With its high levels of educational achievement and attainment, Finland is regarded as one of the world’s most literate societies. They can (and often do) spend hours engaged in deep play long after the school day has ended, developing their creativity and analytical thinking skills. For years, I refused to believe my wife. The Mathematics Curriculum in Primary and Lower Secondary Grades. Aleksi Teivainen – HTPhoto: Mikko Stig – LehtikuvaSource: Uusi Suomi. How much of the education they receive is hands on learning? 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. Contact Us. However, we had 2 hours of non-academic activities every afternoon, and many breaks for outside play throughout the day. When I was teaching first grade in the Greater Boston area, my Finnish wife, Johanna, loved to tell me about schools in Finland. I would have felt like a prisoner if I was forced to live like kids in the US do. On the rare half-day, my students were always brimming over with excitement. Wendy And they weren’t the only ones who were tired. They will start foreign language learning after moving on to the third grade the following autumn. 1 The first curriculum, led by the EDUFI, was created in 1985 after which it was renewed in 1994 and 2004, with the latest work started in 2012. Grahn-Laasonen admitted in a press conference earlier this week that the decision can be interpreted as an indication that the core curriculum has been designed incorrectly in regards to language teaching for decades. This post was originally published during the 2013-2014 school year. In Finland, students in the younger grades have less hours of school than the older ones. 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/. 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However, it is not c… It is tax funded and therefore free-of-charge for families. According to a Stanford University analysis, Finland is one of the world’s most literate societies, with 94 percent of those who begin upper secondary school -- a three- to four-year program students enroll in at the age of 16 or 17 -- graduating. Finland uses the 75/25 rule for building emotional intelligence, academic fidelity, and loyalty, creating a culture of learning innovation, cultivating creative imaginative students, and acknowledging the creativity and productivity of working on self-guided passions. This figure includes most of the severely disabled children (smithsonian.com) #27 43% of those students in further education (16+) attend vocational school. The compulsory school age in Finland is from 6 to 17 years. Thanks again for the question, and I’m glad to hear that you find these articles interesting! All told, they only spend about three hours in class each day. Of course, this is a difficult task to accomplish in most elementary schools, even in Finland. There may be additional work experience periods of 2-5 days in the 7th and 8th grades. In practice, however, districts have allocated this responsibility to schools after making sure that some critical aspects of curriculum are locally in harmony. 9-9:45 math All rights reserved. The national core curriculum for basic education has been reformed. Schools are expected to adopt it but teachers have the discretion to interpret it as they see fit.) I attended an “English speaking” school in Helsinki from 1956 to 1959 (grades 3-5) because my father had a diplomatic assignment there. Colorado Dept. Her close Finnish friend, a first grade teacher in Helsinki, worked about 30 hours each week, including prep time. In autumn 2016 Finland’s comprehensive schools adopted a new core curriculum that has in some critical circles been described as the downfall of the world’s best education system. September 27, 2016 at 3:46 pm. In Finland, the main materials for teaching mathematics and science are textbooks published by commercial publishers. 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. How is Finland different with screen time? The City of Helsinki decided roughly a year ago that all pupils will begin foreign language learning in the first grade as of the upcoming autumn. 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. Although I’m a fifth grade classroom teacher in Finland, I’ve been able to spend several hours observing and co-teaching first grade classes at my school. The early focus on playtime doesn't seem to hold students back when it comes to literacy later in their education. 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. My reality as an American first grade teacher was just too different from the one she described. This is why shortening the number of school hours for young children is sensible. In the fall, first graders all across Finland are just getting their feet wet as readers. The instructions are provided in the Finnish and Swedish languages. The school day and calendar conformed to the Finnish calendar at the time. “If a municipality wants at this point to also offer this possibility to second-graders, that’s also possible. jumping rope and local sports field were the only things we could play with. My daughter’s kindergarten class has such low hands on activities for learning (mostly worksheets), that’s what I’d like to know! CDE Hours Mon - Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I am a home school mom in Texas and find the articles on Finland schools fascinating! Every day I see first graders who thrive with shorter school days in Finland. At many schools, teachers don’t grade students until the fifth grade, and they aren’t forced to organize curriculum … Sure taking the bus on my own during the dark and cold winter months wasn’t always fun but I’d still rather take that than give up my freedom and let parents or school bus or whatever take me everywhere with no me-time whatsoever. Meanwhile I was shocked to hear that in other countries children weren’t free to do as they wanted. 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. #25 Finland spends about 30% less per student than the US, the UK, Japan and Germany. (Homeschooling is allowed, but rare. of Education 201 East Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80203 Phone: 303-866-6600 Fax: 303-830-0793 Contact CDE. Was there a way for first graders to have enough time for both work and play in a school setting? This practice of “afternoon club” — where first and second graders spend their afterschool hours playing freely — is common throughout Finland (and often happening at the location of the school). This is the type of play that helps children to develop creativity and analytical thinking. Everyone who wants to get an education in Finland has all chances to make this dream come true. So after school I got my travel card and hopped in the bus to get to the ice rink for practice. 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