Schools are expected to adopt it but teachers have the discretion to interpret it as they see fit.) It varies a bit by town, school and group. Box 380, 00531 Helsinki, Finland. When I returned to the United States I felt very mistrusted by most adults, whose behavior toward even their own children seemed distant. Their school days were often just four hours long. We children had our duties, principally to show respect to adults, but the rewards were great. Municipalities organise comprehensive education. October 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm. I would like to know this as well. June 20, 2016 at 1:01 am. I know many of my peers had some after school hobby where someone was looking after them until their parents got home. This, she tells, is the primary reason why all first-graders will start learning a foreign language as of the spring term of 2020. The latest national core curriculum for basic education was completed in 2014 by the Finnish National Board of Education (from 2017 the Finnish National Agency for Education). HT was established in 2007, covering Finland related news daily. 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. mathematics curriculum in Finland related to the curricular trends in USA Since 1972 there has been four distinct phases in the development of mathe-matics curriculum in Finland (cf. The American nuns were strict and some could be very cruel, so the days were not always happy ones for the kids. This is why shortening the number of school hours for young children is sensible. The Mathematics Curriculum in Primary and Lower Secondary Grades. In other words, some young Finnish children spend time alone at their homes (on their devices, perhaps), but many of them are playing with their friends through these clubs. I was exhausted, too. I have one question after reading several articles. 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. Readers are mainly ex-pats, diplomats, international businesses, tourists, and other groups and individuals interested in Finland from all around the world. Clock and calendar time as well as money may also be in the curriculum. Although my students and I found ways of coping with the afternoon blues, I always wondered about the Finnish model that my wife would rave about. children need about 30 minutes to reach a deeper level of play, Teach Like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms, “Teach Like Finland” BBC World News Interview, Finland: Where the Helicopter Parent Is an Unknown Species, When Finland’s Teachers Work in America’s Public Schools, http://youthtoday.org/2015/10/after-the-school-day-in-finland-play-and-more-play/. (Photo credit: Mathieudu68). We in Finland understand the true value and promise of digitalization. Each permanently resident of a compulsory school age in the country has a right to receive the same education as Finns do. 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. Governor Christie is misguided. Finland recognizes the significant influences of mathematics education on students’ intellectual growth and their ability to advance purposeful activity and social interaction. Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP), the Minister of Education, has revealed that foreign language learning will start in the first grade in Finland as of the spring term of 2020. To be honest I commuted to practice on my own before I was even forced to pay for the bus there (which happens at the age of 7). Every day I see first graders who thrive with shorter school days in Finland. Helsinki Times is the first and only English language newspaper providing news about Finland in English. Kupari 1994). 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. I would have felt like a prisoner if I was forced to live like kids in the US do. 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. What is a typical day in third grade? The core curriculum of basic education in Finland cannot be discussed without discussing the steering system behind it. 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I like walking home on my own (even when it’s dark out there and my nose freezes). 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. In Finland, students in the younger grades have less hours of school than the older ones. Her close Finnish friend, a first grade teacher in Helsinki, worked about 30 hours each week, including prep time. Tim Walker 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. Most of what she told me sounded mythical. In general, classroom teachers teach Grades 1 to 6, and specialist teachers Grades 7 to 9. I just didn’t believe that another way was possible until I started teaching in Finland. © ABYZ OU. 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. In his recent State of the State speech, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, “It’s time to lengthen both the school day and the school year in New Jersey. Example When I was teaching first grade in the Greater Boston area, my Finnish wife, Johanna, loved to tell me about schools in Finland. In my mind, free play was babyish. 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. curriculum with local emphases The national core curriculum for basic education has been reformed. Many of my first grade students were a full year or two younger than their Finnish peers. For years, I refused to believe my wife. 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. When my students returned from lunch and recess around 1:00 PM, I noticed a sharp drop in their energy levels. )There are no "gifted" programs, and the more advanced children are expected to help those who are slower to catch on. And they weren’t the only ones who were tired. Preparatory education for comprehensive education The student participates in preparatory education if he or she has recently moved to Finland and cannot In the 9th grade of comprehensive school, the curriculum includes a two-week work experience period or TET. (Homeschooling is allowed, but rare. The curriculum is an educational tool shaped by the decision making of many different administrative levels. However, it is not c… I was also stranded in a boring suburb with no access to public transportation. How is Finland different with screen time? Screen time is a issue in Finland, too. Teachlands LLC © 2020. Instructional Materials, Equipment, and Laboratories. Was there a way for first graders to have enough time for both work and play in a school setting? I was sad to have left such a nurturing community. 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. #25 Finland spends about 30% less per student than the US, the UK, Japan and Germany. I guess I just wanted to share my experiences even though this is probably a long and mostly useless comment. Even on a half-day at my previous school, my American first graders would still put in more classroom hours than their Finnish peers on a full-day schedule. 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). At many schools, teachers don’t grade students until the fifth grade, and they aren’t forced to organize curriculum … However, my experience of the rest of Finnish culture with respect to children was very much as you are describing. The school day and calendar conformed to the Finnish calendar at the time. All rights reserved. Love this…. ... P.O. It’s not the length of the school year that is antiquated, but the length of the typical school day for America’s youngest students. Heading home at 12:00 or 1:00 PM gives these young Finnish students more opportunities to engage in deep play. The early focus on playtime doesn't seem to hold students back when it comes to literacy later in their education. I had a phone but it had no games and it was only for calling my parents if I needed something. I’ve yet to see first grade teachers who use class time for unstructured play. 8-8:45 independent read During the afternoon, I often felt the urge to give my young students time for unstructured play. The core curriculum provides a common direction and basis for renewing school education and instruction. Most pre-schools introduce letters and numbers through play. The decision to lower the starting age for foreign language learning may also lead to unusual situations in primary schools, as second-graders would be the only pupils not learning a foreign language in the spring of 2020. On almost every occasion, younger students spend these breaks outside with their friends.In Child and Adolescent Development for Educators, published in 2008, professors Judith Meece and Denise Daniels praise the wisdom of structuring regular breaks for social interactions and physical exercises throughout the school day. There is about 20 hours of tuition per week for lower grades and more for higher grades. The instructions are provided in the Finnish and Swedish languages. This post was originally published during the 2013-2014 school year. Educational experts respond to these claims, to explain if there is any truth in them. 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. They will start foreign language learning after moving on to the third grade the following autumn. First, formally each district (or municipality) in Finland is responsible to craft its own curriculum that guarantees that national laws and educational directives are adequately employed. Free First Grade Curriculum. The annual costs of the reform are estimated to rise to 12 million euros as soon as all primary school pupils have begun foreign language learning in the autumn term of 2020. The core curriculum provides a common direction and basis for renewing school education and instruction. However, we had 2 hours of non-academic activities every afternoon, and many breaks for outside play throughout the day. In practice, however, districts have allocated this responsibility to schools after making sure that some critical aspects of curriculum are locally in harmony. Does Finnish education rely on worksheets as much as American teachers do?? of Education 201 East Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80203 Phone: 303-866-6600 Fax: 303-830-0793 Contact CDE. Contact Us. Schools started to work according to the new curriculum in August 2016 for grades 1 … It’s kinda hard to explain but somehow those moments keep me sane. Unlike Johanna’s friend, I was pulling in 50-hour weeks of teaching and planning. November 3, 2015 at 10:51 pm. The Finnish first grade teacher was immediately shocked by the sheer amount of text on the test, wondering how her young students would fare. Everyone who wants to get an education in Finland has all chances to make this dream come true. Great question, Wendy! “We know a lot more about the sensitive periods of children to learn new things today,” she explained. This figure includes most of the severely disabled children (smithsonian.com) #27 43% of those students in further education (16+) attend vocational school. Aleksi Teivainen – HTPhoto: Mikko Stig – LehtikuvaSource: Uusi Suomi. All but the most severely impaired are mixed with the general education children, in keeping with Finnish policies. We were in school Mon through Sat, from 8:30 AM to 4 PM. When I left my 7th grade math classroom for my Fulbright research assignment in Finland I thought I would come back from this experience with more inspiring, engaging, innovative lessons. Then again it was the 90’s and Finnish economy wasn’t doing too good. It’s already possible because many municipalities, including Helsinki, already offer early language teaching,” commented Grahn-Laasonen. Meanwhile I was shocked to hear that in other countries children weren’t free to do as they wanted. On the rare half-day, my students were always brimming over with excitement. The curriculum is now managed by the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) which leads the curriculum development work every ten years. The work at national level was led by the Finnish National Board … According to Myae Han, assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Delaware, children need about 30 minutes to reach a deeper level of play. What I have seen, however, is a school structure that provides children with more opportunities to play. Half of its 200 first- through ninth-grade students have learning disabilities. This is a key step to improve students outcomes and boost our competitiveness.” According to Governor Christie, the current school calendar is “antiquated.” He seems to believe that increasing the quantity of school hours will improve the quality of a student’s education. Tuuli Sometimes I’d hear them wistfully recall how there used to be free play in kindergarten. (OECD Indicators) #26 Just under 100% of 9th-grade students in Finland go on to high school. 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. The core curriculum provides a common direction and basis for renewing school education and instruction. I guess it’s the famous connection between us Finns and nature. Firstly, the curriculum functions as a part of the steering system of education. Schools aren’t ranked against each other, and teachers aren’t threatened with formal reviews. This is the type of play that helps children to develop creativity and analytical thinking. Main focus is on thinking skills and problem solving. 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. Finland downplays educational competition in a number of ways. jumping rope and local sports field were the only things we could play with. I’ve yet to see first grade teachers who use class time for unstructured play. 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? First grade starts at age 7 and ends at 15, a nine-year basic education system called Comprehensive school, compulsory education for 9 years. According to Johanna, Finnish children started first grade at age seven. Researchers have found that children prevent themselves from achieving this improved quality of play if they sense impending interruption. 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. 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’ve found that first grade in Finland is actually quite academic. Finland enjoys one of the most advanced and expansive applications of digital technology in education, starting from the first grade of primary school throughout the education system, and consisting of formal as well as extracurricular learning through technology. September 27, 2016 at 3:46 pm. Teaching and learning is differentiated as some children might already be fairly confident readers. It was non-academic. It is tax funded and therefore free-of-charge for families. Research has shown that these breaks can boost concentration in the classroom. My daughter’s kindergarten class has such low hands on activities for learning (mostly worksheets), that’s what I’d like to know! In America most children go home and watch TV, play video games or play on the computer or iPhone. In Finland, the main materials for teaching mathematics and science are textbooks published by commercial publishers. Of course, this is a difficult task to accomplish in most elementary schools, even in Finland. 9-9:45 math Grade at Which Specialist Teachers for Mathematics and Science are Introduced. In Finland, students begin first grade the year they turn seven. Finnish education lessons by an American teacher. The first national curriculum, developed in the early ’70s, weighed in at 700 stultifying pages. So after school I got my travel card and hopped in the bus to get to the ice rink for practice. All comprehensive school teachers in Finland have a Master’s degree. Carol Lambert Some of these young children have their own cell phones, but many of them choose not to play games on them, so that they can play with their friends. All rights reserved. My reality as an American first grade teacher was just too different from the one she described. 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. TV became a much bigger part of my life. Colorado Dept. Usually between ice time and practice on dry land (where the break was sometimes two hours!) 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. Brief Description With its high levels of educational achievement and attainment, Finland is regarded as one of the world’s most literate societies. The compulsory school age in Finland is from 6 to 17 years. So, in this regard, providing children with ample time for free play is an important step. October 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm. When I was seven years old I was already practicing figure skating at least five times a week. 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. I attended an “English speaking” school in Helsinki from 1956 to 1959 (grades 3-5) because my father had a diplomatic assignment there. A weekly print edition of Helsinki Times was published from March 2007 up until Feb. 2015.At the moment, Helsinki Times is an online-only publication. Why do most American first graders put in the same number of hours as upper-elementary students? As a first grade teacher in the States, I found that the afternoon was the toughest part of the school day. “If a municipality wants at this point to also offer this possibility to second-graders, that’s also possible. CURRICULUM IN FINLAND Mr Jorma Kauppinen, Director Finnish National Board of Education Torres Vedras 14 th March 2016 Lisboa 15th March 2016 . First grade curricula must cover the basics of math, reading, science, social studies and arts in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. I read the post where you talked about how independent Finnish children are. Thanks again for the question, and I’m glad to hear that you find these articles interesting! *Originally I wrote erroneously that, according to Finnish law, students are promised a 15-minute break for every classroom hour. I regret the error. Thanks for reading and sharing! I’ve found that first grade in Finland is actually quite academic. 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. The figure reveals that the curriculum changes have always tended to follow international - specifically Anglo-American – reform trends. 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2020 finland first grade curriculum