Education is of paramount importance to both individuals and society. It develops the personality, thoughts, skills, knowledge, values, moral habits, and behavior of a person while contributing to shaping a better society. Educating a person should start from the early stages of life when the learning process has its best effect on a person. That’s why primary education is so important in any education system.
According to the statistics and recent studies, Finland has the highest quality of primary education since the year 2000. In a research done in 2017, based on fundamental skills like maths, science, reading, writing, and general knowledge, Finland scored a massive 6.7 on a scale of 1 (low quality) to 7 (best quality). It has also topped the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) triennial international survey in 2000. Finland had a total literacy rate of 99.5% by 2000 and its tertiary education has been ranked 1st by the World Economic Forum.
Although in recent years Finland has been displaced from the very top, it still manages to receive upper ranks in most surveys and studies. Considering its overall success, we thought it’s important to find out what’s so great about their primary education. Let’s begin with how it works and what principles they follow.
•”Learning to learn” at daycare and kindergarten
In Finland, high-class daycares and kindergartens are considered so crucial to preparing young children for lifelong education. This preparatory stage lasts for 7 years. The Finnish maternity package gives out 3 books; 2 for each parent and one for the newborn baby. They do this as a part of this package to adapt a culture of reading. Finland also has free universal daycare access for children between 8 months to 5 years. Then they have to start kindergarten at age 6.
Daycare includes full-day child care centers and municipal playgrounds where adults can keep an eye on the children while accompanying them. Municipalities sometimes pay mothers who like to do this to stay at home and provide “home daycare” for the first 3 years. Often they are supervised by care workers for appropriate environments for children.
In local municipal child care centers, there’s a ratio of 3 adults (1 teacher and 2 nurses) for every 12 pupils who are aged 3 years or under and a ratio of 3 adults for every 20 pupils who are aged 3-6 years. Although early childhood education is not mandatory in Finland, almost all parents prefer daycare and kindergarten as they strongly believe that’s where the children first “learn to learn” as a life skill.
•”Learning through play” at pre-school.
Finnish pre-primary education starts at age 6 and lasts for a year. It is mandatory to attend pre-school before starting a comprehensive school which is for aged 7 to 16. The primary education can be in Finnish language or Swedish but Swedish isn’t available in all localities. Primary education is free and if the school is over 5 kilometers away for some child, he is provided with free transport.
Finland offers free education with no dead ends. In primary school, the children are taught basic skills like reading, writing, maths, and science while developing communication and cooperation skills them. Each child gets the opportunity to develop as a unique person while respecting other people’s needs and interests. They are expected to care about others, have positive attitudes towards others’ feelings, and be respectful towards people of different cultures and ethnicities.
The Finnish education simply is amazing as it doesn’t force children to choose a path that doesn’t represent who they are but instead they provide opportunities to gradually gain independence and to take care of themselves. The purpose of such a principle is to prepare children to be responsible, make their own decisions, and participate productively in society as an active citizen when they grow up.
According to neurological studies, 90% of the brain and 85% of the nerve paths develop before a child starts schooling. Therefore primary education is of great importance in a person’s life. As a very successful education system, Finland offers so much to its children through education.
They not only focus on literacy skills but also aim on promoting interactive skills, empathy, and the feeling of responsibility in children. In fact, the purpose of their early education is to build a child who is both skillful and rich in attitude and personality. They expect a child who is also motivated and keen to grow and learn more by the time they start school.