Looking For Finnish Schools in Bangkok ?
The world of private education might not be quite as fickle as fashion or food but every few years there is a new trend in the education world often the result of research, studies or global league tables. Anyone residing in Bangkok for the past decade will no doubt remember the 'multiple intelligences' trend that swept the education world (in Bangkok) and was a necessary inclusion to any marketing campaign.
The Finnish model is trending now. In fact Scandinavia as a whole follow similar systems. What is often overlooked however is that these global tables are based on findings for entire counties, and are rather than looking at the school for factors that contribute to success, rather it is government policy which acts to produce or perhaps government inaction or interference which allow for such quality statistics to be achieved nationally.
The immediate response from a parent or those with an interest in education is to analyse the school day, the length, the activities, the qualifications of the teachers perhaps. In reality however this just isn't useful for parents living in a city such as Bangkok, full of amazing schools and private international kindergartens all competing and all in reality all offering very much the same educational and play provisions.
An important factor to note too, is that compulsory, state legislated education does not begin until age 6 in Finland. This means that the educational data used to calculate and rank global tables of educational success is not even collected from kindergartens and nurseries. The only thing to extrapolate from an analysis is that play-based learning appears to contribute to the country's success or another way to view this fact would be that play-based learning doesn't act to impair the later educational achievements of primary and secondary schools.
Why are Finnish schools different?
Because they are in Finland maybe? A closer look at the attributes and qualities of Finnish kindergartens will yield the same buzzwords you'll see on any advertisement or website for most international kindergartens in Bangkok. There is a focus on play-based learning. There are arguably more outdoor learning opportunities in Finland but this will be in large part due to the climate rather than a difference in philosophy.
As well as promoting the benefits of play-based learning Finnish kindergartens also place importance on child-initiated play. This is however, what any Montessori or Reggio Emilia school will offer.
If you are a parent in Bangkok and drawn to the Finnish education model, it would be fairly safe to assume that enrolling your child in an environment which values the play-based approach to learning and places a high degree of importance on that learning being led by the child's interests as opposed to the teachers direction. In this case, we would advise not to discount the other amazing schools in the city which have been following these very same philosophies for many years, improving on their expertise and training and developing their outdoor environments to offer as much exterior play opportunities for the children.