Less is More in Finnish education

Finnish education is famous for its “Less is More” principle. In Finland pupils have less schooldays a year, less lessons in a school day, spend less hours at school, get far less homework (but they do get some, don’t belive the staggering headlines!) etc. than pupils in most other countries. Why is that and what do Finns think they are achieving with this “Less is More” principle?

Again, it comes to the fact that Finnish education is science-based. There is no proof that children learn more if they are exhausted with long days at school and huge amount of home work. Quite the contrary: scientific research proves that people learn more, when they get enough rest and variety in their doings. There are several scientific studies showing that a lot of homework is not promoting learning at all.

We strongly believe that when we are studying we should spend the time effectively and get most out it (using appropriate teaching methods etc.). But after that, it doesn’t increase learning to push children too much and make them exhausted.

The Less is More principle has also a lot to do with the insight that learning is not limited to school. We believe that children learn a lot while doing other things and spending time outside the school, too. Play, hobbies, investigating your surroundings, spending time with your family and friends can be important sources of learning as well!

Based on these conceptions, Finnish children have 13 weeks holiday a year: 9 weeks summer holiday, one week holiday in the middle of the autumn, two weeks Christmas holiday and one week winter holiday (plus less than a week holiday around Easter). To be frank, most of the Finnish parents don’t have that much holiday, so they have to find solutions for the school holidays for their children (many times children go to spend time with their grandparents, sometimes they attend a camp or club during a holiday etc.).

Having so much time off, what do the Finns usually do, when they have their holidays? Many families spend the time at home, just doing things they don’t every week find the time for. Many families travel to meet their family and relatives that live far away. Numerous Finns have summer houses / holiday homes (or “summer cottages”, “mökki”, as we call them) and they spend their time there enjoying the nature. Some families travel abroad to have a vacation there. Many parents try to combine working and spending time with their children etc.

Here is what Learning Scoop team and their families did:

Baking (learning assignment for pupils in pre-primary school), Playing in the snow, Distant working, Skiing and Ice fishing on ice, Walking in the forest, Playing board games, renovating summer cottage, Joy of moving at the SuperPark indoor activity park, Ice hockey games..

To be honest, neither one of us stopped working. We tried to find ways to spend time with our dear ones and get the work done at the same time.

We wish you all rewarding moments at work as well as with your loved ones!

Learning Scoop team