Recently in Finland, when reading anything regarding education, it has been impossible to avoid headlines and discussion such as “New Curriculum – what will change?” Thinking about the next term, I’ll have to say that a lot will – at least in my son’s life. My six-year-old will start his first grade in our local school in August and will of course begin studying according the new curriculum from day one.
As a parent and a person working in the field of education, I have been bothering my colleagues and teacher-friends with questions about near-future school-life. Mostly it seems that the changes in the curriculum are warmly welcomed. I hear that the first-graders are continuing towards even more experiential ways of learning; experimenting and experiencing, learning by trying things themselves. Some of the main topics that have been in the news last winter were abandoning cursive handwriting classes and beginning programming. Well, my son will still learn to write by hand at school, only not cursive but texting (these have both been in the curriculum earlier). As for programming, I guess that might be one of the future skills that are driving the whole idea of renewing the curriculum.
According to Finnish knowledge in education, physical activities during school-day, breaks, learning by experiencing and giving responsibility to students promote learning. These will all play an important role in the new curriculum. It also has multidisciplinary modules, in which different subjects are brought together. During my son’s past pre-school year, such module was already carried out with a circus theme. Music, physical education, arts, mother tongue and drama were all combined in a fun way.
I’ve learned that a big change will be seen in assessment. Students themselves will be more involved, setting their goals together with the teacher. Even parents may take part in assessment discussions, at least that’s the plan in our school.
It might sound that I am more excited about my son’s school start than he is. Well, concerning the changing ways of teaching and learning that might even be true J. Still, he is eager to go and has already been with his future class and teacher for one forenoon this spring. But before entering the classroom on August the 10th (which by the way happens to be his 7th birthday), there’s time to enjoy Finnish summer – which we are certainly doing. Wishing an enjoyable summer break for all!