All play and no work makes Finns very sharp kids

Why Finnish kindergartens are the best in the world

In the 1980 film The Shining, frustrated novelist Jack Torrance banged out hundreds of pages of the same sentence on a manual typewriter to express his descent into insanity.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

He had a very good point. Too much work isn't good for anyone, especially for young people. Because of this, Finnish kindergartens give no homework or tests. In fact, you won't see much formal learning in a Finnish kindergarten at all. But you will see lots of kids playing and exploring the world.

Ok, spending all day playing in nature and exploring the outdoors sounds lovely, but surely kids should be learning real skills like reading, writing and even a few sums here and there.

But it seems that 6-year-olds don't have to worry about reading and writing. Kids don't spend their early years with their nose in a book in Finland, yet the nation has a 100 % literacy level. Finns know that kids will learn to read and write when they're ready. So they let their kids play in the mud for many years, and watch them fall in love with education through rough and tumble, nature walks and by checking out the world around them.

So what happens in an average Finnish kindergarten, and why do they work so well? Read on and find out.

Play-based learning

Finnish kindergartens do have official curriculums, but they're not set in stone. Like traditional learning, play-based learning changes to keep up with the times. Today, kids in Finnish kindergartens enjoy digital play activities, as well as the traditional forms of play like creative play, social play, and, of course, lots of free play. Through this, kids learn to relate to their peers, develop confidence in themselves, investigate things they don't understand yet and learn about the world in a way that's natural to them.

Kids learn outdoors

Despite Finland's harsh and unpredictable weather, kids spend most of their day outdoors. Here, they learn about nature, animals, plants and the environment first hand with no screens or mass-produced toys to distract them. Thanks to this, many Finnish kids develop strong imaginations and creative skills.

Finnish kindergarten teachers are highly skilled professionals

Finnish kindergartens are overseen by a team of education and care professionals like nurses, psychologists and special education teachers. Not only do they give kids a decent amount of attention, but they also maintain relationships with parents and caregivers. Simply put, Finnish kids have a lot of people looking out for them.

Finnish kindergarten kids are encouraged to express themselves

Finland is one of the safest countries in Europe, where violent crime is kept down to a minimum, despite Finn's famous love of alcohol and the rough and tumble of an ice hockey game. Finnish kindergartens may be largely to thank for this.

Finnish kids are not condemned or showing negative emotions, and feel confident about expressing feelings of confusion, anger, frustration and even to throw a few tantrums every now and then. Thanks to this, many Finns grow into emotionally confident adults.

Needless to say, many Finnish kids love going to kindergarten and develop a lifelong love for innovation, creativity and science. Perhaps it's kindergartens we should thank for Finland's globally famous mobile phones, fun digital games and high level of personal happiness.

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