14th of April 2021
We’re passionate about improving early years education, and we’re not alone. If you’re reading this, you probably are, too.
But we can’t do it alone. We are but a humble startup working with children aged 3-8, and there is so much to do! Fortunately, we have friends.
We want to highlight these 7 Finnish friends that are tackling different challenges in early years education, and doing an awesome job.
What they say: “Carrot Kitchen offers a playful game-like cooking experience. Through cooking with Carrot Kitchen, kids learn to love and appreciate food, cook healthy meals, make choices that promote their wellbeing and enjoy the joy of shared meals together. Healthy habits and sustainable choices, learned as a child, are an effective way to influence, not only their own wellbeing, but the future of our entire planet.”
What we say: Carrot Kitchen shares our play-based pedagogy, and applies a hands-on approach to teaching children not only how to cook, but how to think about food and building healthy habits.
We recently worked together to create some kitchen science activities as well, so you can do a little science while you’re cooking or waiting for a dish to finish. It won’t make the cookies come out of the oven faster, but it’ll help.
If you’re cooking at home, you can get 20% off your subscription to Carrot Kitchen with the code KIDE20 here.
What they say: “Eduten Playground is based on Finnish pedagogy. Its exercise library has been co-designed and validated with thousands of Finnish teachers. In the core of Eduten Playground's learning impact is a carefully crafted learning environment that leverages gamification, differentiation, easy goal setting and many other methods. The end result is that students want to work more to improve their skills."
What we say: Based on years of academic research (we can relate…), their approach to providing math exercises keeps students engaged and challenged at their unique skill level, and provides teachers with the tools and data they need to manage their classroom and help all of their students learn the skills and concepts they’ll need to succeed.
What they say: “With Kindiedays, preschools can now manage the whole learning process and ensure that the learning objectives are met within the context of playful learning.”
What we say: As play-based education evangelists, we’re often confronted with a challenge: how can we demonstrate progress to parents without trying to quantify it (you may have heard our opinion on tests).
Well, one tool we recommend to solve this problem is Kindiedays. Their app helps not only manage the learning process, but track and communicate learning objectives and create a portfolio (a tool that we also recommend) to create proof of learning. It’s not just a cute collection of work, it’s an essential element of formative assessment and can both support and assess a child’s progress.
Moomin Language School
What they say: "Moomin Language School is an immersive digital language learning service for early learning organizations such as kindergartens, preschools, primary schools, language centers and after-school clubs with children between the ages of 3 and 10."
What we say: As Finns, I think we’re mandated at birth to love all things Moomin (sorry, not sorry). What we love most about Moomin Language School, though, is their interdisciplinary approach to education. They’re a language school, but language isn’t learned in a vacuum — effective language learning requires social interaction, cultural touchpoint, and even physical interaction.
Science and language, at their worst, are boiled down to flashcards and facts in early years, but the best approach to learning is through principles and context that will help form whole holistic knowledge, and create a love of the subjects at hand.
What they say: "HEI Schools is an educational company from Finland. Our mission is to bring Finnish-style early childhood education to the world with the help of our founding partner, the University of Helsinki."
What we say: Hei Schools is embarking on a really hard mission — exporting Finnish education to foreign contexts. What makes Finnish education great largely does so within the context of Finnish culture, but the elements that translate can be beacons for a better way.
And, their webinars are fantastic.
What they say: "We are continually working with kindergartens around the world. We offer education professionals tools for developing their skills, planning and evaluating activities, and cooperating with parents. Technology is a tool for us to make the best practice available to all. Whatever the starting point, the methods supported by the TinyApp provide a framework for quality child-initiated pedagogy."
What we say: TinyApp does an amazing job at taking the complex (how do we know children are learning in child-initiated learning settings?) and making it easy to show to, and cooperate with, parents. Throw in the educator-facing tools that help teachers get better every day, and you have a winning combination.
Location: Helsinki, FI
What they say: "GraphoGame is an academically researched learning app, game and methodology for teaching kindergarten and primary school children early literacy skills in many languages. GraphoGame combines Finland's educational and special needs expertise with evidence from cutting-edge research in neuroscience to provide 1-on-1 reading support for millions of children around the world."
What we say: Again, a startup that’s applying over a decade (nearly two!) of research into solving a huge problem in the world — 1 in 5 people can’t read, which is an eminently solvable problem that, if solved, would unlock so much potential in the world. And they do it by providing the app for free through partnerships with foundations, NGOs, and other philanthropies.