How Finland uses Play-Based Learning to Stay at the Top of the Rankings of the World’s Best Education Systems

Share Post:

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

How Finland uses Play-Based Learning to Stay at the Top of the Rankings of the World’s Best Education Systems


How did the US and Finland get their ranking on their education system?

The World Top 20 Education Poll rates the top 20 countries (out of 200 for which data is tracked) on a quarterly basis using different criteria each quarter. The most recent (2018) third-quarter poll measures and compares early childhood enrollment rates; test scores in math, science, and reading for lower and upper primary students; and high school and college graduation rates. According to the World Top 20 Education Poll, Finland shines at #2 while the United States lags behind at #16. Repeatedly, Finland outshines the United States in test scores in math, science, and reading. Finland’s high school and college graduation rates also surpass the United States.

 

How much money is the US putting into education compared to Finland?

A 2014 study shows that the United States spends about $12,300 per student annually. Finland spends about $9,800 per student annually (OECD 2014). So what is the secret to Finland’s success? Play-based learning.

 

What makes Finland different?

Finland has held the unofficial title as the country with the world’s best education system since 2000. Finland also has the smallest gap between the weakest and strongest students in their educational system. Two of the reasons for their success are as follows:

  • All students in the same age group study in the same classroom (with a few exceptions)
  • Finland supports the idea that teachers should do “whatever it takes” to help students learn, allowing them to personalize students’ educations to a remarkable degree. Teachers are well-prepared with advanced degrees in education and they also rely on each other for new ideas to reach their struggling students.

 

Play-based learning is a success strategy.

Another key aspect of Finland’s education is that they value play as an integral part of the school day. Finland’s model of education focuses on the importance of ‘play’ and ‘joy’ in education. Writer Timothy D. Walker visited a Finnish public Kindergarten and noted the differences in Finland’s approach. He spoke to some of the educators at the school while watching children do what they do best: play. “Children learn so well through play… They don’t even realize that they are learning because they are so interested,” explained Anni-Kaisa Osei Ntiamoah, one of the pre-school’s teachers. The school’s director shared these beliefs: “It’s not a natural way for a child to learn when the teacher says, ‘Take this pencil and sit still.’” Finland recognizes that movement has so many benefits in learning. Movement and play gives children a sense of independence and freedom.

Arja-Sisko Holappa is a counselor for the Finnish National Board of Education and a leader of the country’s pre-primary core curriculum. Holappa stated “Play is a very efficient way of learning for children. And we can use it in a way that children will learn with joy. There’s an old Finnish saying: those things you learn without joy, you will forget easily.”

Can the US improve its ranking?

If schools across the U.S. commit to bringing joy and play back into the classroom, the U.S will see vast improvements. Using kinesthetic teaching practices is fun for students and teachers. Furthermore, it increases test scores, attendance rates, and graduation rates.

 

How Can Math & Movement help the US improve its ranking?

Math & Movement is a kinesthetic and multi-sensory approach to teaching math and reading. The movement-focused design harnesses a child’s natural love for active learning through mats and games. The program is perfect for energetic Pre-K/Kindergarten students with excitement to learn new things in new ways. Students engage in challenging math concepts because they see it as a game and as a time to run around and have fun. Math & Movement puts the joy back into learning — an ingredient that is desperately needed in America’s education system.

 


 

Sources:

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/10/the-joyful-illiterate-kindergartners-of-finland/408325/

http://www.businessinsider.com/finland-education-beats-us-2017-5/#1-competition-isnt-as-important-as-cooperation-1

http://worldtop20.org/worldbesteducationsystem BREAK http://worldtop20.org/2017-world-best-education-systems-1st-quarter-report BREAK

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science/

https://www.oecd.org/edu/EAG2014-Indicator%20B1%20(eng).pdf

Recent Stories

Fostering a Growth Mindset in Children

Fostering A Growth Mindset in Children

Studies suggest that growth mindsets counter the fight-or-flight response, helping us to view social problems as challenges. This helps us to adapt, change, and grow—the chief characteristics of resilience. When we promote the belief that people truly have the potential to change, we free up ourselves and others to actually do that. Overall, fostering a growth mindset in a child’s early years are critical.

Read More »
Summer Math Activities

Summer Math Activities to Get Kids Outdoors

All of these math activities offer children a chance to get outdoors and have fun while practicing their math skills. Parents, teachers, and camp counselors can use an outdoor summer math activity to keep kids engaged and learning. Overall, be sure to celebrate a child’s success and HAVE FUN! 🙂

Read More »
end of the year school activities

Fun End of The Year Math Activities

The end of the school year is a time that allows for fun end of the year math activities children of all ages love! As you prepare to honor your student’s success’ and send them on their way, make sure to integrate these end of the year activities for fun and engaging lessons.

Read More »