I was worried about writing this. I mean really…not another Finland does it better post. That’s not what this is. Although I’ll be honest, they know what they are doing. I’ve spent the past year reading and talking to teachers here and in Finland and wanted to see how things stack up. I love hearing about what is working for some and trying it out for myself. Seriously, who doesn’t want happy kids that love to learn and explore? So here it is, 6 reasons parents in Finland are getting it right and how we can too.
6 Reasons Parents in Finland are Getting it Right and How We Can Too
Kids in Finland are scoring much higher than in America on standardized testing and they do less school work. In Finland alone, students are ranked 24 spots higher than the U.S. on the Program for International Assessment Education Test. Let’s check out what they are doing and find ways that we can improve. Or maybe you’re homeschooling just like this already… in that case You Rock!
- Start Elementary school later: Finnish kids don’t start school (Kindergarten) until they are 7 years old. Children are allowed to be children longer and develop emotional maturity. When children are young they spend most of their days playing outside. Children learn so much through play. #playmatters
- Outside Playtime: For every 45 minutes of instructional time, they get 15 minutes of free play. In Finland, school-age kids get approximately 75 minutes of recess per day while the US only gets about 15-30 minutes a day. This allows children to rest their brains, socialize, and have fun. Check out this article from The Atlantic. How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play.
At our house I believe in giving children regular breaks during our homeschooling. They can stretch, play, run outside and get fresh air. They almost always come back refreshed. You can see our daily homeschool schedule here.
- Teacher Salaries are higher: In Finland, teacher salaries can double after 15 years. Teachers are teaching the future generation. We should want teaching to be the best that it can be. As homeschoolers I don’t have to worry about this much, but I still feel for the wonderful teachers out there that are under paid.
- Teaching the Way They Learn: In America, we have been known to focus on grades and statistics vs. preparing kids for life. Teaching one way instead of the way the child needs us to teach. Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting down teachers at all. I have so many friends that are teachers and tell me on a regular basis how much it has changed since they started. In fact a few of them have actually left their teaching position altogether. “If you only measure the statistics, you miss the human aspect.” My hope is only that we can get back into teaching for the child and not for statistics.
- Parents Give More Responsibility: Trusting your child and not being the typical “helicopter parent” does so much for their confidence. We need to try to remember failure and challenges teach kids new skills. You are a lot less likely to find parents in Finland hovering 😉
If you are familiar with the Montessori Philosophy than you are probably aware that a big part of it is practical life skills. I love practical life skills for children. Giving your child freedom and allowing them to help out, make their own meals, get themselves dressed, and much more. This will give them the tools that they need to succeed on their own.
- Parents Let their Kids take Risks: In Sweden, parents let their 3-5-year-olds use knives and regular tools. This may sound seriously dangerous to some, but in Sweden, they have the lowest rate of child injury in the world. By letting them have this freedom, and teaching them the correct way to handle these tools you are supplying them with great life skills. –Yes I know I used Sweden as an example 😉 but I really wanted to make this point.
So, what does this mean? Maybe we need to reevaluate how we raise and educate our children. What do you think? Spend more time playing outside and less time worrying? Sounds great to me!
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