The FinlandWay® curriculum is based on the Finnish National Curriculum, but to copy an existing curriculum is rarely a solution for high-quality education. This is why the FinlandWay® curriculum is always adapted to any local context with our partners around the world.
There are several reasons why curriculum localisation is so important.
Firstly, this makes learning more meaningful and relevant to the children.
Localisation considers the local culture an integral part of the curriculum – it is a process where the culture and its traditions and best practices are adapted to the context of the new curriculum. Local relations and open discussions are crucial to the process.
FinlandWay® launched the first Finnish-style Moroccan schools in Marrakesh and Casablanca back in 2019. The curriculum localisation process in these locations has been a two-year-long project which still continues. In this case, the localisation process can be divided into four phases: pre-launch phase before the actual school opening, launch phase during the first semester after the school opening, co-operation phase, and evaluation phase.
Learning in the early years is not possible without a shared language and communication support. This is why the FinlandWay® lesson plan materials are available in five languages already!
Curriculum materials, learning outcomes, and activity guidelines in their own language support the teachers in their classroom practices and make the planning and implementation easier. The children and their families also understand the content of educational materials and classroom practices, which makes it easier for them to communicate with teachers.
Localisation also involves the use of local materials and resources. For example, we encourage our school network to source the required furniture and equipment locally as part of their renovations and be sustainable. We train each local teacher team to prevent having to source a staff all the way from Finland. FinlandWay® Schools consider local safeguarding standards and cooperate with local designers in the classroom renovations.
In the transition period we follow the adaptation process closely and guide teachers to use two different curricula in parallel to give children a smooth and secure transition to the FinlandWay® curriculum.
Professional learning process
The most important part of implementing and localising the curriculum is giving teachers resources and responsibilities, and encouraging them to master the new curriculum, implement it, consider it critically, and make adaptations and adjustments to it. In the FinlandWay® process these tools are given to teachers through the teacher training process and practices. Our teacher training is based on discussion, personal and shared professional reflection, classroom adaptation, and pedagogical practices. Teacher education is blended, and allows our FinlandWay® experts to get to know each teacher on a personal level.
Children’s wellbeing and active agency are key elements in the FinlandWay® curriculum. Students who have previously participated in traditional, teacher-led education need time and practice to get involved in the new curriculum and its implementation. Teachers are guided to support children’s wellbeing and transition every day within the classroom-based interaction to make the process smooth and secure for children.
Local culture and traditions are an important resource for any school operator. When the FinlandWay® curriculum is adapted for the schools, local festivities are always added to the academic calendar. Teachers, who are experts in teaching the local traditions and cultural habits to children are consulted in the process and they work together with our FinlandWay® experts to adapt the local content with the new methods and context.
ia Co-operation phase
Cooperation with parents
All parents want the best for their children.
They also wish to understand the classroom practices and ensure themselves that the education is of high-quality and enables their children to thrive. FinlandWay® schools build strong relationships with parents and provide information to them in the forms of an overview, daily and weekly reports, portfolios, and evaluations about children’s learning, development, and happiness.
In Morocco many parents were initially worried that the FinlandWay® system is not based on traditional writing and calculating assignments (pen-and-paper assignments), so FinlandWay® experts supported local teachers to document and report the children’s performance within these skills after participating in the FinlandWay® classes.
Shared development and support
As the teaching staff are the key persons in the curriculum delivery, it is essential that their observations and conclusions are listened to and that they are invited to develop the curriculum-based practices together with our experts.
In FinlandWay® the developmental process is organized through a teacher training process, where the teaching staff, school coordinators, and FinlandWay® pedagogical experts meet and discuss the methodology, the content, and the assessment practices within the school. Teachers are supported to develop their relational agency towards the curriculum and they learn to make adaptations of the curriculum to answer the personal needs and interests of the students on a daily basis.
Ongoing relations with local authorities
When bringing the FinlandWay®, or any international education programme into a new location, the process often involves dealing with local authorities. We support our schools throughout these communications ensuring that the localisation process has taken local requirements into account.
The curriculum is not a book of standards and educational goals, but an ongoing process based on monitoring, documenting, and evaluating the goals of school operations, teachers’ professional skills, and children’s learning. In all these levels it is essential to follow the development and co-operate following reflective practices.
In FinlandWay® Schools, the pedagogical process and curriculum delivery are monitored and documented continuously in a collaboration of FinlandWay® experts and local school operators. The process is based on openly shared and agreed key performance indicators. The intention behind the evaluation of educational quality is to provide transparency, accountability and create an atmosphere of shared responsibility. The teaching staff and the school operators develop ownership of the curriculum and take the localisation further as an ongoing process.
To summarise, localisation is key to a successful implementation of any new curriculum brought from other countries. Done correctly, it will be a perfect match of best practises from two places and a meaningful learning experience catalyst to children.
Interested in opening a FinlandWay® School?
Are you planning to open a preschool in your location or have an exsisting unit already and looking to stand out from the competition? Get in touch with our experts today and start planning your future!