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In Finland School isn’t compulsory until the age of seven. Should Australia follow their lead?

There are no national tests, no rankings, no inspections, no selective schools and very few private schools, shares SBS news.

For every 45 minutes of learning, students enjoy 15 minutes of play.

“Learning should be fun”, says Kristiina Volmari from the Finnish National Agency for Education. “We let children be children for as long as possible.”

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The Finnish national curriculum is deliberately broad and focuses on individual improvement and advancement rather than collective assessment.

“We want our teachers to focus on learning, not testing. We do not, at all, believe in ranking students and ranking schools,” Ms Volmari says.

“In Finland, having happy children is the most important thing, we want to bring back the joy of learning. When you go to schools here, you see happy, active and engaged pupils.”

Parents also play a big role in their child’s learning. Read more on their education beliefs HERE on SBS.com.au

A WA study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, raised concerns recently that children are being misdiagnosed with ADHD and medicated for what could simply be age-related immaturity, because Australian kids start school far too early.

“Allowing parents to decide when their child is ready for school, could prevent misdiagnosis,” lead researcher Dr Martin Whitely said.

Do you think Australia should be following in Finland’s footsteps? 

Share your comments below.

  • In one primary school I know of the homework is way above the ability of most of the children in the class. Homework is supposed to be based on what you are learning at school (It definitely was when my brother and I + a friend’s younger siblings). In another school in the 1970s one Special Needs Class was given assignments to do that no way were some of the pupils able to do without adult assistance. It included pupils with low IQs e.g. a 14 year old child having the IQ of an 8 year old.

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  • I absolutely LOVE that system ! Think that there is far too much homework here for primary school kids, too much testing in general and far too much emphasis on academic performance
    In an international standardized measurement in 2001, Finnish children came top or very close to the top for science, reading and mathematics !
    Read here 26 very interesting facts about Finland’s unorthodox education system https://www.businessinsider.com.au/finland-education-school-2011-12?r=US&IR=T#finnish-children-dont-start-school-until-they-are-7-1

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  • Finland has a very different social environment, though.

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  • What an ibtesting read. I like the idea of play based learning. I also like that they have so much physical activity instead of sitting in a classroom all day. Must be so much better for their health too.

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  • I like play based learning for younger students however 7 is too old to begin any formal education in my opinion.

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  • I think our system is fine. The only thing I would change is some of the curriculum in high school. I think there should be more basics taught, such as how to budget, road rules, how to take out a loan etc.

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  • Some parts sound great. But I’d be worried that kids who are lazy or just not quite ready to learn wouldn’t get the push the need.

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  • I love what Finland is doing. And being kids means having time to play. I agree that there is a big connection between play and learning. You learn so much through playing. And the Finnish education system functions! So I guess a lot of countries should learn from them.

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