We infuse the International Early Years Curriculum (IEYC) into the Finnish Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) to best meet the needs of our KG students. The IEYC is a research-based curriculum recognizing global best practices in early childhood and the developmental needs of KG students. It supports the key areas of learning through holistic inquiry and play-based approaches that cover all curriculum areas including personal, social, and emotional development.
The Finnish Core Curriculum for ECEC is based on a conception of learning according to which children grow, develop, and learn in interaction with other people and the immediate environment. The conception of learning is also based on a view of the child’s active agency. Children are naturally curious and wish to learn new things and revise and repeat what they have learned. Learning is holistic and occurs everywhere. It combines knowledge, skills, actions, emotions, sensory perceptions, bodily experiences, language, and thinking. Among other things, learning occurs when children observe and examine their surroundings, and as they imitate the actions of others. Children also learn by playing, moving, exploring, working on different assignments, and expressing themselves as well as through activities based on arts.
In ECEC, children’s previous experiences and their interests and competencies are the starting point for learning. It is important that new knowledge and skills learned by children are connected to their developing competencies as well as the world they experience and their cultural backgrounds. Children learn best when they are feeling well and secure. Positive emotional experiences and interactive relationships promote learning. The peer group and the experience of belonging to a group are key to the child’s learning and participation. Children are entitled to the support and guidance of the teacher for their learning. Interesting, goal-oriented and suitable challenging activities inspire the children to learn more. Each child is entitled to gain experiences of success and joy in his/ her actions.
Play is significant for the learning of children of early childhood education and care age. It motivates the children and brings joy while allowing the children to learn many skills and acquire knowledge. In ECEC, it is necessary to understand the intrinsic value of play for the children as well as the pedagogical significance of play in learning and children’s holistic growth and well-being.