Supporting children and Early Childhood Education is one of the many secrets of Finlands exemplary
academic results and advanced ability levels on the PSSA exams. Children are cherished by the society, and the dedication to Early Childhood Education is unsurpassed with the highest teaching standards in the world.
The ability of all parents to send their children to highly enriching Pre-Kindergarten programs at the age of 3 with no cost, this helps level any economic disparity. Kindergarten starts at the age of 6-7 with socialized sentient beings that are articulate and have amazing thinking skills. The curious kinder's that I had the privilege of meeting daily traversing the city of Uppsala on their explorastions and tours were ambassadors for Scandinavian Early Childhood Education.
Finnish National Board of Education National Core Curriculum for Pre-primary Education
2010 The Finnish Common Core
Sweden and Finland are worlds apart in attitudes and governmental rolls in creating a equitable foundation for children. Scandinavians spend tens of thousands on children before they even get to "1st grade". Scandinavia provides world class prenatal medical care, financial assistance for parents, and amazing free Early Childhood Education programs. Pre-Kindergarten starts at age 3. School for most Scandinavians is 13 years not including three years of kindergarten. Reports cards in Sweden contain complete standards, objectives, and goals that students work on, or must be mastered by the end of the level. The progress report travels with the child, ensuring the next teacher or school has a very clear picture of the skills that child comes to class with. Parents, students, and teachers know exactly what the learning outcomes are with clear exemplars. All expectations are explicitly defined, ensuring students will meet the standards. Students not meeting the standard retake the levels and work till they pass those levels. Students work on mastery of skills even in primary.They never fail because they know, "you keep working diligently, you will meet your goal". Students, parents, and teachers are equal partners in the learning outcomes! Students that fall behind attend extra lesson after school or on Saturday.
Support of parents as provided by EU governments is unthinkable to many in the US: As a mother/father in Germany you get 6 weeks maternity leave before the birth, and 8 weeks after the birth with full pay. Politicians have started a new program to increase the birth rates in Germany that are the lowest in Europe (Jan 2007). The parent (Mother or Father) who is the primary care giver that stays at home gets 67% of their income for the first 12 months. Parents also receive financial support for each child until he/she is 25 or until he/she has finished their vocational training. The government aid is 154 Euros per month for the first two children and the amount increases with every child.