Posts in August 2023

What is the Group's Learning Plan?

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Children learn by playing in solitary, in parallel, and in a group.

Playing is the underpinning theme in the Finnish curriculum for early childhood education and care. In ECEC, children get to play every day. They play solitary, in parallel, and in a group. An operating culture that encourages children to play recognizes its significance to children’s well-being and learning. Playing is the main channel through which children express their emotions and an important source of well-being.

Initially, playing is about contact and interaction between an adult and a child. After this, the child begins to show interest in the surrounding world, and playing is targeted at objects and their purposes. During these early stages of play, playing is usually solitary or parallel. Solitary and parallel play gradually change into collaborative play, allowing children to develop interaction and different roles within a group.

The community encourages everyone to be resourceful, use their imagination, express themselves and be creative. Playing allows children to interact with one another. The staff help children join and ensure that all the children are able to be active participants in their peer groups.

What is the role of the Group's Learning Plan?

In the previous two blog posts, we discussed the whole Center's Curriculum and then the Child's Learning Plan. The Group's Learning Plan complements these to strengthen the group level. The Group's Learning Plan has several important themes that help your planning process. 

The Group's Learning Plan is a tool to support the process of pedagogical planning and to assess children's learning and overall educational work with the group and with your team.

Download the Group Learning Plan template from Kindiedays!

The Group's Learning Plan is drafted at the beginning of the academic year, but it can and should be assessed and modified regularly with the staff. The Group's Learning Plan includes information about the specific children of the group, so each plan is valid only for one academic year.

The Group's Learning Plan should include information about the group's working methods, educators’ strengths, and the individual qualities of the children.

With your team, discuss the following areas:

How to create a child's individual learning plan?

Thursday, August 24, 2023

According to the Finnish Act on Early Childhood Education and Care, every child has the right to receive education and care that is systematic and goal-oriented.

In order to achieve this, an individual learning plan is created for every child together with the child and their guardians. These plans include goals that are set together and promote the systematic care and education provided for the child. Read more: What is Finnish ECEC?

How is the child's individual plan created?

A child’s teacher is responsible for creating and evaluating the child’s individual learning plan. This is a process and involves several steps. In addition to a discussion and the writing process, the creation of a plan includes an assessment and observation of the child’s strengths, needs, and views, as well as an evaluation of the child’s previous plan. All staff members working with the children take part in the process, and the creation, observations, documentation, and evaluation are conducted multi-professionally.

The plan is based on the child’s strengths and interests, as well as on their best interest and needs. The pedagogical goals and measures, and any support measures and their implementation, are recorded in the plan. The linguistic and cultural background and linguistic skills and abilities of a child who speaks a foreign language or is bilingual are factored in when creating their individual plan. The child’s cultural and religious background will also be considered when creating the plan.

This is how the City of Helsinki plans the child's individual learning:

How to create a useful curriculum framework for the center?

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Wondering what a curriculum framework really is?

"Curriculum is an organized framework that delineates the content children are to learn, the processes through which children achieve the identified curricular goals, what teachers do to help children achieve these goals and the context in which teaching and learning occur.”  

- National Association for the Education of Young Children  (NAEYC)

The Center's Curriculum consists of information related to the children's learning process in one tight package. It is a guideline for the staff in their everyday work, and it also tells a lot about you and your values to the families. Therefore, it is a nice idea to have your Center's Curriculum available for the families too. With this as starting point, you can then plan your daily work and create the syllabus consisting of the weekly plans, preplanned lesson plans, etc. 

How to create the curriculum framework?

It is very important to think about how your center operates and what are the core values that everyone should know. Writing down the curriculum with the staff unites your team and sets everyone on the same page.

When planning, arranging and developing early childhood education and care, the primary goal must always be the overall wellbeing of the children. Children’s interests, wishes and needs guide the teachers work forward.  

I  have prepared a list of questions that guide you when writing down your Center’s Curriculum. The checklist is based on Finnish best practices. Naturally, you should adapt these to your local needs and requirements. Think of the questions in detail, as thinking of the topics and issues ahead makes it all easier when the situation hits you - for example, a case when someone is bullied. When your team has a clear practice of how to deal with bullying, families trust your professionalism and most of all children feel secure, valued, and happy.

Take a look at the topics and issues and include the relevant ones in your Center’s Curriculum!

How to handle separation anxiety?

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

When the new term starts, mornings can be tough. Going to a new preschool, with new educators, and new children, might be scary for many children. When parents drop off the children at daycare everything is not always that quick and simple. Saying goodbye can make children feel sad and upset. Tears are falling and the child is clinging to the caregiver's leg - how to get out of this situation without more distress and panic??

Here are some tips on how to manage separation anxiety and how educators can help children feel safer and more secure.

What is separation anxiety?

Many children experience separation anxiety as it is a normal part of child development. Separation anxiety is a sign of a meaningful attachment.

  • Infants

Separation anxiety develops after a child gains an understanding of object permanence. Once an infant realizes the parent is gone, she might get restless. Most infants develop separation anxiety around 9 months of age. The separations might feel worse if the infant is hungry, tired, or otherwise not feeling well.

  • Toddlers

Some toddlers might not have separation anxiety during infancy but start demonstrating it around 18 months of age. Again, separations are more difficult if children are hungry, tired, or ill. As toddlers become more independent they can also act more dramatic during the separations.

  • Preschoolers

By the time children are 3 years of age, some can still have separation anxiety. It is the key to being consistent with the morning routine and sticking to the original plan. At this age, children understand much more, so it is a good idea to explain for example when the parent is coming back to pick the child up.

Get to know each other

How to renew your preschool?

Thursday, August 3, 2023

When you start a new preschool or the new term starts, it is good to stop and evaluate where you stand and what should be done next.

Early childhood education should be the start of lifelong learning. But educators are tied up with old ways of working. They cannot be the champions they deserve to be. Parents feel locked out from their child's learning journey. Many childcare centers are also in a competitive market and want to provide the best education and care. A major change is required to respond to the need for quality education.

You must take the lead and make it happen in your preschool!

A successful Early Education Center has 3 guiding principles:

  • Support children's learning
  • Engage families
  • Secure success for the preschool

You should reimagine how the goals can be achieved by working smarter - not harder - and with the help of new technology.

It is actually straightforward

Children's learning should be organized like this