Why Finland’s Education System is Successful and How to Apply It at Home
Finland’s education system is one of the best school systems in the world. 66% of students in Finland go to college which is the highest rate in the European Union. Also, 93% of students graduate from academic or vocational high schools.
These are some of the country’s many achievements in education. They came as results of Finland’s education system’s transformation some 40 years ago.
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a standardized test administered to students in over 40 locations globally.
In 2000, it showed that Finnish students were the best in the world when it comes to reading. On 2003 PISA test they achieved the best results in math. And in 2006, Finnish youth were first out of 57 countries in science.
So, what is the Scandinavian secret of school success?
Lots of Play
Elementary school students enjoy 75 minutes of recess daily. That’s almost three times more compared to an average of 27 minutes in the United States.
Furthermore, Finnish daycares don’t focus as much on reading, writing or math. Instead, they emphasize creative play. The main focus is on the promotion of health and well-being of every child.
The purpose of daycare is to help children to develop their social habits, learn how to respect others, and create positive relationships. Also, a huge emphasis is on physical activity (at least 90 minutes a day).
Small Science Classes
Science classes have no more than 16 students. So, each student gets the opportunity to perform experiments and gain practical knowledge and skills.
Non-Evaluation-Focused Education Model
The children in Finland don’t start school until they are 7. They also rarely take exams until they are teenagers, and have only one standardized test at the age of 16.
School performance isn’t observed and graded. Yet, there are annual development discussions with school leaders. These provide feedback on a teacher’s own assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.
According to statistics, around 30% of elementary students receive extra help during the first nine years of school.
The teachers are selected from the top 10% of the graduates. Also, all teachers in Finland must have a Master’s degree. The government fully subsidizes it.
How Can We Apply Finland’s Education System at Home?
There is a wide-reaching interest in the Scandinavian success. As a result, these countries have started to export their education model.
But, you don’t have to wait on the US education system to implement it in school curriculums. You can use the guidelines of this educational model to help enhance your child’s education at home.
1. Allow for More Play Time
Allow your child the freedom to explore and learn through first-hand experience under your supervision. Play is necessary for a child’s healthy development and well-being.
Unstructured play promotes cognitive development. It also encourages imagination and enables exploration and discovery in a safe environment.
Furthermore, through play children learn about their surroundings and practice problem-solving. They understand the cause and effect, and learn to anticipate and predict outcomes.
Free play also allows children to express and manage their feelings, develop empathy, and boost social skills. Finally, through play kids gain new skills. They do so by building new knowledge upon their existing experience.
2. Provide Opportunities for Children to Build and Create
Today’s job market increasingly searches for curiosity, problem solving and creativity. So, children need to develop these skills to answer the job market demands when they reach adulthood. They need to learn how to think critically and be creative.
Engage your children in project-based learning. Help them find answers and create things with little guidance. They need freedom to explore and be creators instead of consumers.
Provide opportunities for kids to work with their hands and create things. Let them build their own toys. Let them engage in sensory and motor activities. and explore different textures and movements.
Moreover, don’t just convey information and answers to your child. Instead, encourage them to learn how to think. Project-based learning helps a deeper understanding of the world around them. It also boosts confidence as the child gains knowledge independently.
3. Encourage Communication and Collaboration
Play with your child and encourage collaboration. Create things together, take turns, and discuss the different stages of the creation process.
Through play, children learn about different social roles. They also develop emotional control, social skills, and empathy.
Pretend play, for example, helps them express their needs and feelings. In addition, it enables them to learn how to positively relate to others. Children also learn to collaborate and find constructive ways to manage conflict situations.
4. Encourage Imagination and Creativity
Kids need opportunities to be creative. They need to look at problems and situations from a new perspective.
Encourage your child to practice mindfulness and visualization. This helps boost self-esteem and enables a child to focus on his/her feelings. Visualization or mental rehearsal encourages imagination and boosts creative thinking.
Creative play such as art helps meet the child’s need for self-expression. Additionally, it helps fine motor development and enhances critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Also, creative games help children express their emotions and understand social rules. They learn how to create stronger bonds with other children and adults.
Creative activities such as drama help children think for themselves and work out answers. In short, it encourages them to be creators.
Children should be encouraged to build the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. These are creativity, critical thinking, communication, and cooperation.
STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is a great platform for that. It boosts their problem-solving skills and develops critical thinking.
STEM uses a combined learning background. It shows students how science can be applied to real-life situations.
And according to the U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, STEM professions are growing at 17%. This is almost twice more compared to other jobs’ growth rate of 9.8%.
Boost children’s interest in STEM disciplines. Help them to be creators and critical thinkers at home. Allow independence, free play, exploration, and creation. Inspire children to grow into creators and innovators.