Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes. Image copyright Milla Kontkanen For 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a box by the state.
It's like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates. It's a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and it's designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they're from, an equal start in life. The maternity package - a gift from the government - is available to all expectant mothers. It contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.
With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby's first bed. Image copyright Finnish Labour Museum Werstas. 11 Ways Finland’s Education System Shows Us that “Less is More”. When I left my 7th grade math classroom for my Fulbright research assignment in Finland I thought I would come back from this experience with more inspiring, engaging, innovative lessons.
I expected to have great new ideas on how to teach my mathematics curriculum and I would revamp my lessons so that I could include more curriculum, more math and get students to think more, talk more and do more math. This drive to do more and More and MORE is a state of existence for most teachers in the US….it is engrained in us from day one. There is a constant pressure to push our students to the next level to have them do bigger and better things. The lessons have to be more exciting, more engaging and cover more content. This phenomena is driven by data, or parents, or administrators or simply by our work-centric society where we gauge our success as a human being by how busy we are and how burnt out we feel at the end of the day.
This is why Finland has the best schools. The Harvard education professor Howard Gardner once advised Americans, "Learn from Finland, which has the most effective schools and which does just about the opposite of what we are doing in the United States.
" Following his recommendation, I enrolled my seven-year-old son in a primary school in Joensuu. Finland, which is about as far east as you can go in the European Union before you hit the guard towers of the Russian border. OK, I wasn't just blindly following Gardner - I had a position as a lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland for a semester. But the point is that, for five months, my wife, my son and I experienced a stunningly stress-free, and stunningly good, school system.
Finland has a history of producing the highest global test scores in the Western world, as well as a trophy case full of other recent No. 1 global rankings, including most literate nation. In Finland, children don't receive formal academic training until the age of seven. This is why Finland has the best schools. Even in Finland, universal basic income is too good to be true. Finland is not planning to scrap its existing benefit system and give everyone an unconditional grant of €800 a month – contrary to what some recent headlines may have told you.
What it is planning promises to be an interesting policy experiment involving a sample of the population, which may or may not include some form of basic income paid to all participants: which in turn may not be unconditional, and may be worth a lot less than €800. Still the general excitement was testimony to widespread interest in the basic income idea. That idea has been around for a very long time (at least since the aftermath of the first world war), attracting support from both left and right. Versions have been supported by economists as divergent as Friedrich Hayek (who inspired Margaret Thatcher) and Tony Atkinson (who didn’t).
Another variant was part of the Green party’s general election manifesto. The idea of replacing benefits and tax credits with UBI has huge intuitive appeal. Happy Teaching, Happy Learning: 13 Secrets to Finland's Success. Published Online: June 24, 2014 By Sophia Faridi Most educators have probably found themselves wishing for a simpler solution to the hardships and inequities of the U.S. education system.
I recently got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the Oppi Festival in Helsinki, Finland, with a group of seven U.S. educators to learn more about the Finnish school system and the lessons it might offer. During the trip, our group had the chance to visit several innovative schools. While I can’t say that I uncovered some mysterious holy grail of education, I did discover something that I had never considered before: the importance of happy teaching and happy learning. The teachers and students that I observed were happy. It made me wonder: “What makes school in Finland such an enjoyable experience for students and teachers?” Students in Finland work together frequently, and the material they study is important to them. —Sophia Faridi 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.