We are HEI Schools - Iiris

We are HEI Schools - Iiris

Lifelong learning is at the core of what we teach our children - growing and learning something new everyday.

At HEI Schools we focus on learning about each child as an individual. With a growing staff, we are asking our HEI Schools team about themselves in the same way as the children. Today we are talking to Iiris Halme who is our Graphic Designer. Please get to know Iiris!

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Things I enjoy at HEI Schools…

The varied amount of graphic tasks where I can use all my skills and vision. Creating things that look visually tempting and easier to understand, a form of visual problem solving!

Things I enjoy at home…

Relaxing with my family and friends, releasing energy by running at the football field or in the gym.

Things I can do well at HEI Schools...

Executing creative graphic briefs quickly, but with passion.

Things I can do well at home…

Realizing how my work doesn’t feel like work because I’m doing things that I really enjoy! Cooking delicious food from different cultures is also something I really love!

At HEI Schools we are currently practicing...

How to plan, organize and direct a photoshoot.

At home we are currently practicing…

How to keep my super thirsty avocado tree alive. An upside down standing water bottle has been a huge help.

We are HEI Schools - Tuuli

We are HEI Schools - Tuuli

Lifelong learning is at the core of what we teach our children - growing and learning something new everyday.

At HEI Schools we focus on learning about each child as an individual - asking of their strengths, dreams and goals. Learning never stops and we are asking our team about themselves with the same set of questions we ask our HEI Schools children. Today we are talking to Tuuli Schalin who is our Pedagogical Content Manager. Please meet Tuuli!

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Things I enjoy at HEI Schools…

I enjoy being able to use my strengths and imagination to create something new.

Things I enjoy at home…

Taking a walk with my horse in the forest and just breathe.

Things I can do well at HEI Schools...

Balancing between great ideas and practical needs.

Things I can do well at home...

I can make others laugh. And I am very good at taking naps!

At HEI Schools we are currently practicing…

I’m practicing to tie my shoes faster.

At home we are currently practicing...

I’m improving my bread baking skills.

We Are HEI Schools - Emma

We Are HEI Schools - Emma

Lifelong learning is at the core of what we teach our children - growing and learning something new everyday.

At HEI Schools we focus on learning about each child as an individual - asking of their strengths, dreams and goals. Learning never stops and we are asking our team about themselves with the same set of questions we ask our HEI Schools children. Today we are talking to Emma Niskanen who is our new Project Director. Please meet Emma!

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Things I enjoy at HEI Schools…

The happy atmosphere, people, community spirit and collaborative environment

Things I enjoy at home…

Spending time with my friends and family. I'm very family orientated - people person. I like social activities, just chilling with my loved ones. I like going to the movies and being outdoors. I love winter and snow - now it's the perfect time to get the skiis out!

Things I can do well at HEI Schools...

I manage large projects, so I have to multitask. I'm good at organising things and interacting with our customers globally.

Things I can do well at home…

I like handicrafts (such as sewing, knitting) and baking. I make a mean lasagne and very fluffy profiteroles!

At HEI Schools we are currently practicing...

Since I'm quite new - I'm learning about the HEI Schools processes and getting to know all our different projects. Some of the future HEI Schools are building projects - so the architectural aspect is super fascinating!

At home we are currently practicing...

I would like to learn a new language, and to master making amazing macaroons!

New Helsinki Flagship: HEI Jätkäsaari

New Helsinki Flagship: HEI Jätkäsaari

Announcing HEI Schools new flagship location in the Jätkäsaari neighborhood of Helsinki! Groundbreaking will begin this winter for a beautiful new flagship HEI Schools by our very own architect team from the Finnish architecture firm, Collaboratorio, in a rapidly growing urban environment along the sea. HEI Jätkäsaari is operated by our Finnish partner Touhula. HEI Jätkäsaari will also have a special role as a development platform for new ideas, content and design for all HEI Schools worldwide. The school is slated to open in summer 2020 with a capacity for 180 children.

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HEI Schools opening in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and San Rafael

HEI Schools opening in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and San Rafael

HEI Schools is excited to announce the opening of several new schools around the world!

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Beijing, China
HEI Schools in Beijing will be opening in September of 2019. We are excited to have a HEI Schools in the capital of China!

Shanghai, China
Two new schools will open in Shanghai during February of 2020. They will be located in the Shanghai neighborhoods of Puxi and Pudong.

Seoul, Korea 
Three schools will open in Seoul during the spring of 2019. Finland inspired “Fillland” art centers will be converted into HEI Schools and they will offer HEI Schools comprehensive curriculum. 

San Rafael, Argentina
Slated to open in the Spring of 2020 with more news of site details to be announced.

Can happiness be exported?

Can happiness be exported?

PRESS RELEASE December 3rd 2018

Finnish based HEI Schools is globalizing Nordic wellbeing through the lens of early education. Backed by academics at the University of Helsinki, HEI Schools is delivering the acclaimed Finnish model to early education operators all over the world.

Nordic countries top polls year after year as the happiest in the world. Values such as creativity, trust, compassion and sustainability, all building a high quality of life with education as a cornerstone to Nordic wellbeing. Studies consistently prove that a solid foundation during early years has a lasting, lifelong impact.

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HEI Schools is a highly designed, research based licensing model established for local partners to provide the best in early childhood education. A complete school package including the curriculum, teacher training, learning environment design, curated learning materials and operational support. All created with co-founder University of Helsinki in 2016 together with experts in education and design – a perfect harmony of Finnish pedagogy and Nordic design delivered to the world.

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The first HEI Schools opened in Baotou, China in 2017 with a 4,500 square meter space for 300 children from the ages of 3-6. Success has been seen and felt by the parents of Baotou with positive changes in their children and homelife as well as within their community.

Rapid growth and desirability for the concept in different markets shows, that HEI Schools is filling a need by providing a model not based on heavy stress, ranking and competition, but on individual success and holistic development of the child – still not compromising academic achievement. HEI Schools is now seeking growth in new markets after four successful projects in Baotou and Guangzhou in China, Melbourne, Australia and Helsinki, Finland. New HEI Schools in Shanghai, Chengdu and Beijing, China, Korea, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait City will be open during 2019-2020. North America will be one of the main focus areas for new partners and market opening during 2019.

“HEI Schools was developed to offer high quality early childhood education for as many children and families in the world as possible. It would be actually quite easy to build a great school for 2% of the wealthiest people, but we truly are seeking for a model to serve the many, not the few” says CEO of HEI Schools, Milla Kokko.

—-

For media inquiries please contact:
Pamela Lewis
pamela.lewis@heischools.com

+358 45 669 0177





Päivi Paltola from Marimekko joining HEI Schools as strategic advisor

Päivi Paltola from Marimekko joining HEI Schools as strategic advisor

Working together to increase global awarenessof Finnish education and Nordic design.

Previously holding a CMO position in the management group with Finnish design company Marimekko as well as other VP level positions with iconic Finnish design and lifestyle companies such as Fiskars and Lumene Group, Päivi Paltola brings vast experience growing and building high quality brands internationally.  

Says Milla Kokko, CEO at HEI Schools, “Päivi Paltola´s role as strategic advisor is very valuable for us at HEI Schools where we are modeling Finnish methods of education together with the Nordic heritage of high quality design for all. Her extensive background with major Scandinavian brands coupled with her expertise in business strategy is paramount to our mission of delivering scalable, high quality early childhood education”.

HEI Schools continues to focus on expansion with a concentration on Asia and the USA, cultivated markets for Päivi. “I am thrilled to join HEI Schools, they are really doing something unique within the landscape of education worldwide. Promoting the growth of Nordic culture is important to me on both a personal and professional level and this new role truly supports both”, says Päivi Paltola.

Paltola will start the position as of January 2019.

Learn more about Päivi Paltola:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/paivipaltola/

Learn more about Päivi Paltola: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paivipaltola/

HEI Schools named top-100 in global education.

HEI Schools named top-100 in global education.

The Finnish-based preschool model was selected from over 1,000 participants as one of the most innovative educational platforms in the world.

World renowned education nonprofit HundrED (hundred.org) has selected HEI Schools (heischools.com) as one of the 100 most inspiring programmes in education worldwide at the prestigious HundrED Innovation Summit held in Helsinki, Finland.

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HundrED’s goal is to showcase the best K12 projects that improve the future of education globally. A team of researchers investigated programmes to determine which 100 innovations are currently changing the face of education today. Over 1,000 participants were identified and 160 were selected for evaluation by the HundrED academy, a group made up of pedagogical experts, educators and students (ages 11-19 years old) from 28 countries.

HEI Schools was selected for their holistic approach to early childhood education, seamlessly combining all elements needed to enrich young minds: a research based model with a clear licensing package consisting of curriculum materials, teacher training modules, spacial design concept, curated learning materials and operator support. The scalability of HEI Schools is the core of its mission, since the model can be placed anywhere in the world, giving any child access to high quality education and revealing their own unique importance worldwide.

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Says Milla Kokko, CEO and one of the co-founders at HEI Schools, “We are so honored to have been selected. Our goal with HEI Schools is simple: to bring high quality early childhood education to as many children and families in the world as possible. We are very happy to see, that just a year after opening our very first HEI Schools kindergarten in Baotou, China where we have now over 100 children and their families joining the international “HEI Family”. This is a clear example of the attractiveness and scalability in our model. We will continue to expand, creating an environment that engages our community, activates young minds and provides a space for lifelong learning.”

HEI Schools Guangzhou opening mentioned on Finnish national TV

HEI Schools Guangzhou opening mentioned on Finnish national TV

HEI Schools Guangzhou in Southern China opened its doors just this week, in a newly renovated building with lots of space and light. The beautiful 250 children capacity school is run by a local owner and teachers as well as two temporary Finnish teachers, pedagogical director Anna-Maija Kuokkanen and teacher Tiia Sääksjärvi.


HEI Schools Guangzhou opening also gained national interest with the Finnish national public service broadcasting company YLE. A story about HEI Schools and HEI Guangzhou was broadcast on national TV news on October 18th, 2018 as well as on the YLE website: https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-10460123.


Mandy Chao from China chose a Finnish kindergarten for her daughter. She wanted her child to have fun at kindergarten and where: “she is allowed to have her own opinion”.

The middle class in developing countries is growing at a fast pace. Parents are paying up to 1,000 euros a month for childcare.

Zilin Liu, one year and 10 months is able to stack, build and play. Picture:  Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

Zilin Liu, one year and 10 months is able to stack, build and play. Picture: Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

Forest Hu just opened a Finnish kindergarten in Guangzhou China this week. It is the first of its kind to open in this southern Chinese city with millions of inhabitants. There are several British and American kindergartens catering to a population wanting more high quality education. Forest Hu became interested in Finnish pedagogy when she was studying economics and pedagogy at the University of Hong Kong. Finnish early childhood education is highly regarded worldwide compared to other methods.

Government officials, educational professionals and parents are all interested in the Finnish early childhood education model.

The co-owner and director of Guangzhou kindergarten, Forest Hu believes that an international education adds to the creativity of the children. Picture:  Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

The co-owner and director of Guangzhou kindergarten, Forest Hu believes that an international education adds to the creativity of the children. Picture: Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

The kindergarten is operating in a newly renovated building with lots of space and light. There are 4 children playing in the space including Mandy Chao’s 4 year old daughter Cindy.

Chao chose a Finnish kindergarten because she wants her child to have fun at her kindergarten. Here children are more free than in a chinese kindergarten. They are allowed to have their own opinion and choose what they want to play. Chao is impressed that within the Finnish model teachers obtain information about the children directly from their parents. When educators understand more about their students they can individually cater to each student, that is what I want for my child.

Mandy Chao chose the Finnish kindergarten for the freedom it gives her child. Picture:  Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

Mandy Chao chose the Finnish kindergarten for the freedom it gives her child. Picture: Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

Currently, the director’s goal is to fill all 250 places with the doors open for all interested parents. The Finnish education model has a good reputation in China, but parents are still reticent to adapt a new method for their children’s education. Parents want the newly renovated building to have adequate time to ventilate before the children start school to ensure the cleanest, healthiest environment for their children. The building renovations were completed one month before classes began for the students.

Security cameras and guards are important in Chinese kindergartens

The safety of children is a major concern for Chinese parents. They want all the table edges to be covered and soft along with knowing how many security cameras and guards will be monitoring their children. Security cameras are common in Chinese kindergartens and many parents are able to watch their children’s activities live throughout the school day. At Hu’s kindergarten she will install security cameras, but her hope is that the parents will have trust in the safety of her kindergarten even without the cameras. In Finland, it is not common to use security cameras in kindergartens.

Yiuxuan He, 2 years and 10 months old, has just started at the Finnish kindergarten in Guangzhou. His teacher Lucy Lu is encouraging him to play. Picture:  Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

Yiuxuan He, 2 years and 10 months old, has just started at the Finnish kindergarten in Guangzhou. His teacher Lucy Lu is encouraging him to play. Picture: Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

Parents are worried that the Finnish kindergarten model will not give their children the best start on their educational journey

Forest Hu’s kindergarten follows the pedagogy of the new start up, HEI Schools that partners with the University of Helsinki to bring the Finnish model of early childhood education to the world. HEI Schools works with local operators, both public and private, opening schools globally. In September 2017, the company founded it’s first kindergarten in Baotou China now with over 100 students. In both Guangzhou and Baotou there is a Chinese kindergarten director as well as a Finnish pedagogical director. In Guangzhou, Forest Hu is both a co owner and director working along with Finnish pedagogical director, Anna-Maija Kuokkanen. Anna-Maija explains that Chinese parents are still quite skeptical if the Finnish model gives their children the best foundation despite having the best reputation in education.


The export of education in Finland is growing:

  • Education Finland is a part of the Finnish national agency for education to promote the export of education.

  • Offering early childhood education all the way through to higher education.

  • 92 member companies in total with 7 companies offering primarily early childhood education.

  • Member companies report a revenue of 310 million euros in 2017 with a 16% growth rate.

  • A majority of companies are still in a start up phase with a revenue of under 100,000

Source: questionnaire from Education Finland in 2017 with 95% of the companies submitting their information

Anna-Maija Kuokkanen is responsible for the Guangzhou kindergarten’s pedagogical content. Picture:  Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

Anna-Maija Kuokkanen is responsible for the Guangzhou kindergarten’s pedagogical content. Picture: Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

Reading poems out loud and playing piano are respected

In China there is a lot of competition for entrance into the best schools. Prospective students are subject to rigorous testing of their memorization, english language, music and mathematic skills for private school entrance. Kuokkanen has the answer for Chinese parents in the HEI Schools model combining local features with Finnish pedagogy. We have our own curriculum, but we also take the local needs into consideration.

The middle class in Guangzhou are wealthy and parents are willing to pay for the best education for their children. At Forest Hu’s new kindergarten the monthly tuition is 1,000 euros a month, which is in line with similar area kindergarten fees. In the future, more and more Chinese families will want internationally branded education for their children.

Guangzhou Finnish kindergarten teachers: Lucy Lu left front and Micky Chan right front, Tiia Sääksjärvi and Vicky Lo middle row and top is Lisa Ding. Picture:  Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

Guangzhou Finnish kindergarten teachers: Lucy Lu left front and Micky Chan right front, Tiia Sääksjärvi and Vicky Lo middle row and top is Lisa Ding. Picture: Matti Hämäläinen / Yle

This story has been published in https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-10460123 and shorten to the HEI Schools news. Originally written in Finnish by Journalist Ulla Manninen and translated by Tiina Daifi and Pamela Lewis.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will join the global network of     HEI Schools in 2019

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will join the global network of HEI Schools in 2019

We are excited to announce the opening of two new HEI Schools in 2019. Kuwait City, Kuwait and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will join our global network bringing a new geographical area and culture to our HEI Schools community.

The owners and operators for both HEI Schools Kuwait and HEI Schools Saudi Arabia will be in Helsinki in early 2019 for management training. They are actively seeking educators to join their teams. Long-term teachers are being sought for either location and short-term mentor teachers for a 2 month period to Saudi Arabia.

All of our teachers and students have the unique opportunity to globally coexist through the use of technology while still sharing the same curriculum. Schools create local modifications to suit their environment while still upholding the globally shared ideology. This international foundation of connection and understanding gives our students the foundation to grow into intelligent, compassionate citizens.

Milla Kokko, CEO of HEI Schools, says “The HEI Schools vision is to build a global network of beautifully designed schools with a shared goal of educating students in the Finnish model. Having this educational framework along with an international community truly connects teachers and children around the world.”



Introducing: HEI Schools Emerald

Introducing: HEI Schools Emerald

Australia will be the next country to open a HEI Schools with space for up to 60 children. The grand opening will be held in Melbourne already in January 2019. Two Finnish mentor teachers and one pedagogical leader will travel to the second most populated city in Australia, to guide teachers and parents. The mentoring period to adopt the HEI model will last two months. Further plans in the Melbourne area for expansion are in discussion.

Expansion of the HEI Schools network in China

Expansion of the HEI Schools network in China

With a new multi-unit contract signed, two new HEI Schools in Chengdu and Shanghai are confirmed to open in the fall of 2019. This is an extension to the HEI Schools China family with schools already in in Guangzhou (see news about HEI Guangzhou below) and Baotou. The Baotou school was the first HEI Schools in China. After a full year of operations, HEI Schools Baotou now has 20 teachers and 100 children.

“Of course we have learnt a lot from our first opening, such as how to truly work together, instead of doing things ‘a certain Finnish or a certain Chinese way’,” says Reetta Kaasalainen. “We will rather focus on truly creating the HEI culture and work on shared understanding.”

The Finnish school system has generated great interest in China and now the HEI team is looking forward to expanding the network of HEI Schools in the rest of the country.

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