Some states think that they can improve their children’s futures by having them start school as soon as possible, sometimes as early as three or four years old. In Finland, formal education doesn’t start until children are seven years old. Before that, state-funded day cares and preschools focus exclusively on play and letting young children learn how to socialise with each other. The forest school model allows children to get plenty of playtime outside to enjoy Finland’s beautiful wildlife.
Primary and secondary school
The main nine-year bulk of a Finnish student’s education is considerably stress-free compared to their neighbouring countries. Finland has no religious, single-gender, or private schools (aside from a few private international schools, but even then, the fees are only a few hundred Euros per year), so every student is on a level playing field. This does mean that taxes are higher, but they do at least go into preparing a new generation of skilled workers.
Finnish schools also have significantly less homework and fewer tests, so students can spend most of their free time socialising or focusing on their extracurricular activities. While schools still start at the unreasonably early hour of 8am, which studies have proven to be detrimental to teenagers, classes are generally done by 2pm, so students at least have the rest of the day free. These school hours also include more break times; at least 15 minutes for every 45 minutes of classes.