Posts in April 2023

Literacy gives children a future

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Reading Week is an annual nationwide literacy theme week organized in Finland by the Finnish Reading Center. Reading Week is organized in Finland on 17-23 April 2023 - so it is on at the moment! Reading Week highlights the importance of reading and literacy and people of all ages are encouraged to grab a book for themselves.

According to the Finnish Reading Center literacy and education promote the equality of children. Literacy is the basis for all learning and provides tools for developing one’s own thinking. Children and youngsters who are illiterate are at risk of being marginalized in society.

Literacy is the basis for all learning and provides tools for developing one’s own thinking.

- Finnish Reading Center

Storytime tips

"It's stoooorytiimeeee!" and everyone gathers around you. It is because children love stories. They do!

According to an article in New York Times, reading is super important to a toddler’s intellectual, social, and emotional development. When you read books with toddlers, they take it all in like little sponges: vocabulary and language structure, numbers and math concepts, colors, shapes, animals, opposites, manners, and all kinds of useful information about how the world works.

How to document in early education?

A. Create a calm atmosphere

Reading books with toddlers is also one of the best ways to get them to slow down, sit down and focus for a while. It does not matter if the children can not stay absolutely still or quiet, as long as they do not disturb other children's story time experience.

Make sure that all children have a comfortable spot to sit or lay on, preferably on the floor with maybe some soft cushions. Also, ensure that everyone sees the book, so it is a good idea that the educator sits on a chair higher than the children.

B. Engage children

Before starting the book you can sing a song together just to get everyone's focus. Better yet, choose a song that is connected to the theme of the book! Or you could also come up with a theme song that anticipates that story time is starting! Then children know that when they hear the song, it is time to calm down and listen to a story. Routines are gold.

It’s ok if children interrupt and ask questions during the story because interruptions show that the children are listening. If children don’t seem engaged by the story or words, you can ask what they see in the pictures. Point at things and let children explain what is happening!

Make eye contact with the children, but don’t look for any particular reaction. It may sometimes seem that children are not listening, but they are absorbing the experience in their own way and might surprise you later..!

Storyline Online - King of Kindergarten

How to combine playing + learning?

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Children just love to play! Therefore, in early childhood education and care, play is the most important way of learning. Learn the tips and a practical example of how to incorporate learning in play in a pedagogical manner - and soon the children love love love to learn too!

What is Finnish ECEC?

Why play?

Play motivates the children and simply brings joy. In early childhood education and care, it is necessary to understand the value of play for children. Play has also pedagogical significance in learning as well as in children’s holistic growth and well-being.

Do the adults have to play too?

Play is a key practice in early childhood education and care. It is important for teachers to observe children’s play and either guide it from outside or participate in it. The presence of teachers in play situations supports interaction among the children and prevents conflicts.

Teachers must also document the children’s play. Observation of play gives tons of information about their world - thoughts, interests, emotions, experiences, and fears...

How do we make children's learning visible?

Where to play?

Children’s learning environments need to be flexible, as play and games can take place anywhere depending on the children’s imagination and wishes. Play and therefore also learning happens everywhere, not only during guided activities or circle time.

Children might learn various things while for example taking a stroll in the forest (tree species), building a Lego tower (counting blocks), or dressing up (body parts).

How to combine playing + learning?

1. Observe what the children are interested in. What they talk about and what they like to play with.

2. Define the theme or project for the next activities based on children's needs and skills.

2. Define the learning objectives aligned with the children's individual, group, and center curriculum. 

3. Plan activities that involve the children's interests + learning objectives.

Example of a learning project related to cars

1. Children are interested in: cars.

2. Teachers plan a month that will be full of car-related activities.

3. Learning objectives of the month: I can name numbers, I can identify numbers and amounts, I play with shapes, and I learn about safety in traffic.

4. Activities

  • Car race: Let each child choose a car and push it as far as possible. Measure how far it went!
  • Shape/number traces: Children drive cars in the sand and try to make traces of different shapes (oval, square, heart...) or numbers.