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Early Learning & Preschool Education – Child-centered & Playful Learning in Finland

Formal schooling in Finland does not begin until age 7 when children are ready and eager to learn. Childhood, play and playful learning are valued in Finnish education. There are no standardized testing or school inspectors continuously checking on the quality of teaching or the learning results. External inspection of teachers’ work and testing of students’ achievement have been transferred from national authorities to be central aspects of the teaching profession, as well as school leadership. Children should learn how to learn, not how to take a test. And value play, life-long learning and their learning community.



Active learning by playing and doing are valued highly in Finnish preschools. Numbers, reading, writing, science and ICT are introduced in early learning education, but children do not need to read or write before they go to school. In other words, Finnish children can be illiterate until age seven, but they very quickly catch up and become very efficient and motivated readers in primary school. In some countries they begin with academic subjects at very young age, when in Finland children’s play, curiosity and creativity play the biggest role in learning. Childhood is very short and children will have plenty of time to learn in formal education. And as the international tests such as PISA, TIMMS and PIRLS show, children can have a playful childhood and become academically strong, happy and motivated learners.


  1. Sadasiva Reddy on 11.2.2018 at 06:25

    Dear miss. Pirjo Suhonen!
    I have a small question, if there is no inspection and assessment in schools then how can you measure the impact and how assure you(government) a Teacher doing his/her job perfectly.

    • Pirjo on 11.2.2018 at 19:25

      Dear Sadasiva,
      Thank you for your comment.
      The solution is easy: invest in initial and on-going teacher training and offer competitive salaries for teachers and the results speak for themselves. Sample testing can be used to get an overall view of how the education system is working.
      You can learn more on the course:

      Best regards,

  2. Pirjo on 27.2.2018 at 18:15

    Beautiful research on the benefits of starting formal learning later:
    ► Around age 10, children learning to read at seven had caught up to those learning at 5. ► Later starters had no long-term disadvantages in decoding and reading fluency. ► For whatever reason, the later starters had slightly better reading comprehension. ► Reading appears to be built on oral language, decoding, and reading skills. ► This research suggests some focus on teaching reading early could be relaxed.

  3. Olga leiva on 12.8.2018 at 16:37

    Would you please recommend me am article – research – paper that support the idea that children may start their School education at age of 7?

    • Pirjo Suhonen on 21.8.2018 at 11:15

      Finnish education offers strong evidence that it is good to start formal education later than sooner. Pasi Sahlberg has researched and compared Finnish educational system to many other systems globally. Perhaps you can start from his work and research.

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