HEI Schools in Forbes

Pasi Sahlberg, an experienced educator, author and scholar, stated in his article in Forbes (Finland April 2017 edition), that Finnish education companies should take more share of voice in the growing International education market. There is a huge interest for the Finnish success story in education but the Finns themselves have difficulties in converting the success to tangible products and services. Sahlberg highlighted in his article that HEI Schools is one of the most promising examples succeeded to package Finnish pedagogical model into the real, usable format.

HELSINKI UNIVERSITY MAKES AN ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT IN HEI SCHOOLS

In February 2017, the Helsinki University Funds made an additional investment in the HEI Schools. The Helsinki Innovation Services (HIS), which focuses on the commercialization of scientific research, is strongly involved in supporting the development of the concept of HEI Schools and accelerating its internationalization.

"An additional investment is significant for HEI Schools in many ways - we are very pleased that the university is so strongly involved in the internationalization of early childhood education," says Managing Director, Pilvi Torsti.

PILVI TORSTI, CEO OF HEI SCHOOLS, INVITED AS A PANELIST AT FUTURE CONFERENCE IN BEIJING

Adjunct professor Pilvi Torsti participated as a guest speaker at the Beijing Symposium on the Future of Work and Education, in China. She discussed the importance of creativity in education. The Symposium organized by the China Education International Exchange Association (CEAIE) and the American Eisenhower Fellowships, debated how education can meet the future demands of work and how technological solutions are affecting work and education.

In his opening speech, the President of CEAIE, China's former Deputy Minister of Education, Liu Lim, stressed how changes in education and work life affect people and countries, all over the globe. The change is driven, in particular, by the growth of the middle class and the strengthening of China's global role. The discussions also focused on women's participation and equality in the workplace.

David Hill, representing HP company, one of the sponsors of the event, stressed the importance of creativity. "We are moving from the era of information to the era of creativity."

The most important way to embed Finnish creativity and enhanced thinking, is to emphasize the significance of teacher training and the commitment of top management.  Pilvi Torsti stated, "No reform can be achieved without strong decision-making and educating the teachers well". Torsti also stated that the kindergarten pilot in the city of Baotou, China, is the first kindergarten where the research-based Finnish early education model is being put into practice outside of Finland.

HEI SCHOOLS PILOT KINDERGARTEN IN BAOTOU, CHINA WILL OPEN IN COOPERATION WITH CHINESE AND FINNISH TEACHERS

The first model kindergarten of HEI Schools will open in the city of Baotou, North China, later this year. The HEI Schools kindergarten in Baotou has appointed two rectors. Chinese rector Hu Shifang and Finnish rector Sirpa Lassila,  will lead the kindergarten, which opens in September 2017.

Hu Shifang

Hu Shifang

Sirpa Lassila

Sirpa Lassila

The project will pilot the HEI Schools' kindergarten concept, including a curriculum, teaching materials, space planning and teacher training. Some of the teaching will follow a co-teaching model where Finnish early education professionals will work side-by-side with Chinese colleagues, until January 2019. A total of five kindergarten teachers from Finland will head to China, led by rector Sirpa Lassila.

The pilot's goal is not only to provide high-quality early childhood education in Finland, but to also develop the HEI Schools model to meet the needs of the Chinese market. This is undertaken in cooperation with the Beijing Normal University and Chinese Academy of Science Kindergarten Group.

The project was launched at the end of 2016 and is now progressing to the construction phase. The 360 capacity, 4,500m2 building will be opened under the name ‘HEI Schools Baotou’, in September 2017.

HEI SCHOOLS TO COOPERATE WITH THE CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCE

In March 2017, HEI Schools signed a letter of intent with a kindergarten chain owned by the Chinese Academy of Science. The cooperation aims at strengthening the HEI Schools' kindergarten model, teacher education and early childhood education research in China. This cooperation is also aimed at promoting the HEI Schools kindergarten model throughout China.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ ‘CAS En-First Education Group’ offers early childhood education with a strong science and art orientation. The group owns more than 180 kindergartens all over China. The cooperation between HEI Schools and the CAS Kindergarten Group is a research-based approach developed by two recognized institutions, the Helsinki University and the Chinese Academy of Science.

"A letter of intent with one of China's most advanced early childhood education provider is a very important step for us - the goal is to work together in developing the content and kindergarten concept, and also develop early childhood education research," says Professor Lasse Lipponen from the University of Helsinki.

China's demand for early childhood education is growing constantly. Like many Asian countries, China is looking for alternatives to a performance-oriented, authoritarian and test-based learning culture. The focus is moving towards the social and emotional well-being of children, the joy of learning, and creative thinking and activities. In addition, interest in international bilingual kindergartens has grown significantly in recent years.