World-famous ECE for your kindergarten
When planning to open a kindergarten, one of the most fundamental things to consider is the pedagogical approach. With many alternatives ranging from progressive to more traditional options, it can be difficult to know which route to take. If you’re interested in bringing the world-famous Finnish early education to your region, keep on reading!
What is Finnish early education?
In Finnish early childhood education, we believe that children grow, develop and learn through interaction with the people and environment around them. The concept of learning is based on the idea that the child is an active and competent learner.
Finnish early education is built on the following principles:
Learning is a holistic process and it takes place everywhere and all the time, not only during teacher-guided activities. Whether it’s playing, dressing up, having a meal or unwinding, children learn valuable skills. Finnish early education addresses all aspects of a child’s growth, not just their academic advancements, with a focus on children's wellbeing.
Through playful activities in different learning environments and with the support of their teachers, children build their knowledge and skills across all learning areas. They get to interact with others and strengthen their social skills, and they learn how to embrace and appreciate equality as well as their own individuality.
Children’s active participation in child-initiated activities strengthens the child’s self-image as a person and as a learner. It is therefore important to plan and implement learning that inspires children and lets them experiment and learn new things with their peers.
Rather than teach just outcome-focused academic skills, Finnish early education focuses on transversal skills, which refer to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits. Children learn to connect their knowledge throughout different subject areas and they acquire soft skills like communication, collaboration and multi-literacy. These competencies also contribute to children's sense of identity, participation and agency.
Inclusion and equality
Finnish early childhood education is also built on the principle of inclusion. It emphasizes early intervention and providing individual support for each child regardless of their needs. This helps create a positive and safe environment for children’s growth, development and learning.
Both take a child-focused approach, but Montessori highlights individual learning.
Both value the inquiry-based approach, but Reggio Emilia has less guidelines.
Both acknowledge the central role of the learner and value transdisciplinary learning.
Pen and paper versus play, academic focus versus holistic approach and more.
How to open a kindergarten
Pick an educational philosophy
There are many steps to opening a kindergarten. The first step is choosing the right educational philosophy and curriculum. Now that you're familiar with the most common educational philosophies for early education, it's time to consider which one best aligns with your values and will appeal to families in your community.
Determine your competitive edge
There are several factors that contribute to the competitiveness of a kindergarten. The location of the school, the student-teacher ratio, the curriculum, the space design and overall facilities, extra activities like after-school clubs, teaching staff qualifications and optional aspects like bilingual teaching are just some of the many that can give you an edge depending on your circumstances.
Select the business model
The owner of the kindergarten can choose between different business models; your kindergarten can be solely developed by the internal team, even starting from the curriculum. This model requires a lot of knowledge and experience from the team and can take time to materialize. A faster route may be licensing or franchising an existing brand and concept as those models include a ready-made concept and curriculum and perhaps also a recognizable brand that resonates with the target audience.
Find a suitable location
This is probably the most difficult task in this process regardless of the country or city. Locations for kindergartens are often limited and one must also consider the neighborhood and its demographics. Would the educational approach appeal to local families and are there enough children to fill the kindergarten? Is the location easy to access by car or public transportation and is there space for outdoor playing?
Choose a partner
Finally, one should choose an external partner to accomplish their vision for the kindergarten. When you find an expert on the education approach you've chosen, they can deliver the curriculum and possibly teacher training and other fundamental elements. Some things to consider when choosing a partner include experience and reputation, credibility, the level of curriculum development and teacher training options.
Why choose HEI Schools?
The HEI Schools concept is inspired by Finnish early childhood education with the mission to bring high-quality ECE to as many children and families in the world as possible. Our flagship product, the HEI Schools Learning Center, is carefully designed by a team of Finnish experts and it provides a licensing model for local operators looking to open a Finnish-style kindergarten. The University of Helsinki is one of our co-founders.
Why choose HEI Schools?
- The leading provider of Finnish early education
- An experienced and trustworthy partner
- A global network of HEI Schools around the world
- An opportunity to stand out with progressive Finnish education
- A comprehensive licensing concept with professional support
- An award-winning design concept
Do you want to learn more about how HEI Schools partners with operators?
We welcome you to leave your contact information so a member of our partnerships team can get in touch with you and discuss the process of opening an early learning center.