The first full semester of Jardines FinlandWay® virtual kindergarten programme started this January and is currently running with it’s second thematic period and two groups, Los Osos (3-4 year olds, sold out) and Los Renos (4-5 year olds).
The programme follows FinlandWay® methodology, which is based on the world-leading Finnish early childhood education curriculum. Learning happens through play-, phenomenon- and participatory pedagogy and encourages active participation from the children throughout the classes. Language skills are being enhanced through exposure to English.
Ximena Malagon, Director of Jardines FinlandWay®, who has had close contact with parents throughout the process, is excited to be bringing Finnish early childhood education to Colombia.
“The Finnish ECE system is considered one of the best in the world. In FinlandWay®, the program incorporates all the values from Finnish education, cultivating skills, motivation, and curiosity for lifelong learning.” she says.
An extensive market research was conducted prior to launching the programme and a huge amount of interest was discovered among the Colombian parents. Ximena highlights that through our program FinlandWay® are looking to increase children’s access to top quality education and improve women’s workforce participation. “We have confidence that more than 3.000 children could benefit from this in the medium term and Jardines FinlandWay® will be a force of local employment and professional development.”
An alternative solution for aspiring families
Ximena Malagon has been happy to see the programme come to life after careful planning and interviews with families looking for a safe way to return children to education with a clear balance between online live sessions and offline activities, through our guidance and materials, that are being delivered to the homes of each participant.
The virtual programme also serves as a gateway to opening the first physical Jardines FinlandWay® school in Bogota during the second half of 2021 – the participants of this semester will be the first ones to receive priority enrolment.
New way of learning
Since the beginning of last year, COVID-19 has reshaped the way of learning for children around the world. The FinlandWay® programme, which has already been in on-site use in three continents, was adapted to the Colombian virtual programme in summer 2020.
FinlandWay® pedagogical expert Fiina Jaakkola has been driving the change process from Helsinki. “Our lesson plan activities were adapted to the virtual learning environment. In FinlandWay® online classes children are seen as active agents and their initiatives and participation are valued. Interaction between the teacher and children forms a significant part of our classes. Play-based learning is also used and we see children’s learning in a holistic way. In our online classes children use different ways to communicate and learn about the world around them, and are also physically active.” she explains.
Great feedback from the participants
The children are joining the virtual programme from Colombia and Mexico, and have adapted into the new way of learning well.
Adriana, a mother of a 3 year old Juan Emilio, who has been a participant of the FinlandWay® online classes since the piloting phase, says: “Our son has been actively integrated into the classes at FinlandWay®, phenomenon-based learning facilitates the process, and we observe how the activities between the children and their teacher come together generating a better bond and motivation for him.”
For Helga Diaz, a parent of another online class participant, her son’s great adaptation and connection to the online classes came as a pleasant surprise. “My son has acquired incredible skills through directed play, participation, interaction and the projects they do. The teachers have a magnificent handling of the boys. It has been a great learning experience for my son.”