Children in Finland keep getting higher scores in exams and we think we might know why!
The success of the Finnish schooling system is legendary these days and globally recognised as a great model, but it wasn’t always the case.
In the 1970’s Finland schools were struggling. The Finnish economy was in poor shape with 20% unemployment and something drastic had to be done to turn that nation around.
The Finnish government made a decision that good education was the best way out of their predicament and they implemented a system that promised every student the best possible education regardless of their location or social status.
In the last few years Finland is consistently in the top 3 nations globally for the academic results of their students!
The key? We don’t pretend for a minute that you get these results without excellence in teaching… that’s part of what the Finn government focussed on. Being a Teacher in Finland now has the same social status of what we might expect for top medical professionals in our country. It’s the number one career choice for young university graduates.
But we think there is another very important factor in the education system that we too often overlook here… the children in Finland are encouraged to play!
- They start school later, at 7 years of age, after attending government subsidised play-based pre-schools for 2 years.
- The school day is shorter than ours
- They get 75 minutes of recess per day
- They have a 15 minute break after each lesson – when they are encouraged to go outside and play
- And they get a maximum of 1 hour homework per day so they have time for friends, family and free play after school!
So what are we saying?
Play is extremely valuable. We ignore the need for children to play at our peril. We need to be making sure it is provided for in Local Government Policy so we can all benefit.
The article referenced above is here: http://www.weareteachers.com/hot-topics/special-reports/teaching-around-the-world/finlands-a-plus-schools