What is the HEI Approach?

Inspired by Finland’s approach to early childhood education, we take the best that Finland has to offer and combine it with other best practices in our progressive, emerging pedagogy. We continuously update our pedagogy based on the latest in educational research, which is provided by our academic partner, the University of Helsinki. Together, we educate children who will change the world.

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core principles of our education, pedagogy and curriculum

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Main concepts in HEI Schools Pedagogy

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Concept 1.Holistic learning and development

We view children as unique individuals with their own ideas, thoughts and needs and we therefore prioritize children’s wellbeing, both physical and emotional, along with building their competencies. We foster their participation and autonomy, teach them how to take care of themselves and others and develop their social-emotional abilities so that they learn the skills for life.

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Concept 2.Sustainable practices

We believe that all aspects of education should involve practices that are lasting and caring for the community. Sustainability encompasses many areas of life, from social practices like incorporating the local culture and teaching children compassion, to ecological considerations like developing children’s relationship with nature and their willingness to actively care for the environment.

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Concept 3.The importance of teachers

At HEI Schools, we strongly believe that teachers matter. We recognize teachers as educators and as experts in their field. The curriculum is only as good as the teacher implementing it, so all teachers should be well-trained in research-based methods and engage in ongoing teacher training and development to deliver quality education. Through our training, teachers become independent, creative professionals confident in their skills and capable of collaborating and building professional communities with other educators.

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Concept 4.Learning everywhere and all the time

Children’s learning is not limited to specific activities or the classroom. Rather, every situation and moment is a chance to learn something new! At HEI Schools, teachers are trained to recognize these moments and increase learning opportunities. We also designed the learning spaces based on educational research to foster these moments because the environment also plays an important role in the children’s everyday learning experiences.

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Concept 5.Play as a way to learn

Play is the most natural way for children to learn and it's a prerequisite for their development. During play, children display their overall development, even performing a level above their developmental stage because they are motivated to learn and unafraid to take risks. At HEI Schools, our curriculum and teachers know how to foster play and enrich these important opportunities for further learning.We also value the intrinsic value of play and prioritize free play without adult involvement. We see it as an opportunity for the children to collaborate with each other, explore their surroundings, practice solving problems and practice creativity.

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Concept 6.The social experience of learning

Knowledge is socially constructed, which means that children learn through their relationships with others. Building a sense of community, peer learning and developing meaningful relationships with other children and trusted adults are key elements of the HEI Schools pedagogy. Through these moments, children learn the social-emotional skills necessary to express themselves and effectively interact with others in all types of situations.

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Concept 7.Learning through exploration

Children also learn through guided exploration, and this is achieved by completing projects. “Inquiry-based learning,” is part of our educational approach, and it involves a collaborative effort between children and teachers. Teachers are trained to carefully observe children's questions, wonderings and interests and to use these clues to guide the learning. Children, in turn, exercise their agency by choosing project themes, asking questions and exploring new subjects together with their teachers.

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Concept 8.Transversal skills and learning areas

Lifelong learning begins in the early years, and transversal competencies are a combination of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes, as well as the ability to use such knowledge in different situations. At HEI Schools, we teach children how to apply their current knowledge in new contexts through playful methods, movement, exploration, daily routines and self-expression so that they become confident learners capable of adapting to and transforming any setting.

Learning areas in the HEI Curriculum that fosters 21st century skills

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Learning forms of expressions

We familiarize them with different art forms and their cultural heritage. We offer children opportunities to express themselves through musical activities, visual arts & crafts and bodily verbal expression.

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Exploring and Interacting with the world around us

Exploration and curiosity are key elements of learning. We promote children’s natural abilities to observe, analyze and understand the world around them. We support the development of children’s linguistic and mathematical skills through different everyday activities. We strengthen children’s relationship with nature and the surrounding environment through science and environmental education.

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Understanding the world we live in

We support children in understanding the diversity in their local community, as well as the practices that activate respect for diversity. We support children’s growth as conscious human beings and help them to understand what it means to be an ethically responsible member of society.

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Practicing a healthy way of living

We focus on building a strong foundation for a healthy way of living which consists of physical activity, nutrition, rest, self-care, and care of others. This learning area supports other learning areas and helps children manage their daily life and routines.

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Tailored learning for each age group in the HEI Curriculum

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Bright Babies
(6 months - 1 year old)

The Bright Babies' educational content in HEI Curriculum supports babies' playful and fun learning by offering a section about teacher training, learning environment suggestions, ideas for sensory play and other activities, and tips for adding pedagogy to daily caretaking moments.The Bright Babies materials are made for babies ages 4 to 12 months old.
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Tiny Tots
(1 - 2 years old)

The Tiny Tots' educational content in HEI Curriculum supports children learn how to walk confidently, start express themselves word-by-word and develop self-awareness. They are encouraged to investigate their environment independently and through a diverse range of hands-on activities. This allows children to constantly learn new things at their own personal pace. HEI Teachers' main focus should be on physical care and emotional wellbeing.
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Eager Explorers
(3 - 4 years old)

The Eager Explorers' educational content in HEI Curriculum nurtures children in independence, engage in imaginative play and express a sense of fearfulness. As their group name suggests, they are encouraged to independently test out their newly developed skills, especially verbal and physical abilities. Children are guided to combine gross motor skills, for example, by dressing and undressing themselves. We also encourage children to challenge themselves and try out their gross motor skills in both indoor and outdoor sessions. 
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Lively Learners
(5 - 6 years old)

The Lively Learners' educational content in HEI Curriculum fosters children's cognitive development and their readiness for school, (which is not just about academic readiness). At this age, skills like time management, understanding routines, organizing backpacks and learning how to socially interact are equally taught. We also strive to see the good in each child and encourage them all to be the best version of themselves. 

Learn how HEI Pedagogy can be implemented at your kindergarten

Get in touch with us and we will be happy to tell you more about the HEI Pedagogy and Curriculum and how they could be implemented at your kindergarten/preschool.