Finland: education union welcomes new core curriculum in Early Childhood Education

The education union Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö (OAJ) has expressed its satisfaction at the release of the Finnish National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care 2016, which the union significantly contributed to.

National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care 2016

This National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care is a national regulation issued by the Finnish National Agency for Education. It is used as the basis for preparing local curricula for early childhood education and care. Its purpose is to provide a common basis for local curricula.

The core curriculum document steers the provision, implementation and development of early childhood education and care as well as promotes the implementation of high-quality and equal early childhood education and care in the entire country. The core curriculum contains references to the legislation governing early childhood education and care as well as instructions for preparing and developing local curricula.

As of 1st August 2017, all early childhood education institutes in Finland, whether organized by a municipality, a joint municipal authority or other service provider shall prepare and adopt a local curriculum compliant with this core curriculum.

OAJ: an important step to develop lifelong learning and equal opportunities in education in Finland

“We are very pleased that Finnish Early Childhood Education (ECE) now has a new curriculum, the first such policy for early learners, jointly designed by the education sector, Finland’s Education Ministry and the Finnish National Agency for Education,” OAJ President Olli Luukkainen said.

While before 2013, ECE was seen as part of the social and health sector and the curriculum for early years was only a recommendation, this new curriculum is now mandatory for all ECE institutions  in Finland.

It is an “important step to develop lifelong learning and equal opportunities in education in Finland,” Luukkainen highlighted.

OAJ is also very satisfied with this document because the union played a crucial and central role in its development. “This a good example how important it is that teacher unions and the Education Ministry sit around the same table and prepare all education guidelines together,” Luukkainen highlighted.

He also noted that Finland now has “a perfect chain of learning and curriculums” from ECE, preschool education to primary level.

This new curriculum raises the status of preschool teachers/early childhood education teachers, he further said, because teachers will be the ones ensuring that this pedagogical curriculum is applied and coming true in their daily work with all children’s groups in ECE institutions.

“We are further expecting that in the near coming future we will see a raise in ECE teachers’ salaries, because their duties and work are now even more demanding,” he concluded, adding that OAJ’s aim also is to raise ECE teachers’ education to master level.

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