Discovering early childhood education in Finland

Twenty students from the “Johanna Just” school of Potsdam/Germany in Jyväskylä for a fortnight with Erasmus

Students of the Johanna Just Oberstufenzentrumfuture nursery teachers, special needs teachers, after-school care workers among others – spent two exciting weeks in Jyväskylä to see what their field of work looks like in Finland. The career exploration was possible due to Erasmus+ funding and was coordinated by Experience Workshop.

Daycare centre visits


The English-speaking Pilke kindergarten

Visit to one of the “Pilke” daycare centres – a network of private daycares in the Nordic countries. Ellen Virkkunen showed us around the place, which has a bilingual profile – Finnish and English.

Kukkumäki daycare centre

Kukkumäki is one of the newer daycares in Jyväskylä. It is attended by children between 5 am and 10.30 pm so that children of parents with extraordinary working hours can be looked after. Kukkumäki is the daycare centre where several authors of the book Playful Learning In Early Childhood Education in Finland have shared their experiences of learning through play. Kristof Fenyvesi from Experience Workshop was among the contributors, too.

Children’s rights, as defined by UNESCO, are visible in all daycares.

Savulahti kindergarten and elementary school

Savulahti was built in 2019 and houses the daycare centre, the preschool and the first 4 classes of the school under one roof. There are several open classrooms here, but children with learning difficulties receive support in small rooms and in small groups. We thank special needs teacher Sari Laitinen for showing us around.

At the university: how to become an early childhood educator in Finland?

Thanks to seminars and lectures at the university, the group gained an insight into Finland’s education system. University lecturer Olli Merjovaara explained how an educator’s career evolves in Finland and how the degree programme represents the concept of lifelong learning.

Presentations by Finnish and German students

Finnish students presented their ideas on learning through digital media in daycare centres at a seminar. German students, on the other hand, presented their school.


Insight into the university study programme

In the wonderful buildings and interiors designed by the architect Alvar Aalto, students were given an insight into the study programme. To give the students a real-life experience with children outside of their internship, children from daycare centres in the nearby area are welcomed in “demo rooms”.

Colour studies for children

Joint work with Finnish students on the subject of colour theory. Small projects were developed in small groups to bring the world of colours closer to the children.

New ways of playful learning

The group gathered several times in the coworking space Crazy Town. Kristof Fenyvesi, STEAM director of Experience Workshop, gave a workshop on the possibilities of STEAM learning in early childhood education. This time students worked together with teachers from German upper secondary schools.

Thanks to university researcher Orsolya Tuba, students gained an insight into the concept of playful learning in Finland, which is also summarised in the Playful Learning book available in our webshop.

Further places for children: Family centres, playgrounds, after-school care centres

During the two weeks, several organisations and institutions that employ educators were visited. These include:



Work with young people: Youth art workshop, Sunshine, Join us!

The group visited:

● the Youth Art Workshop (Nuorten Taidetyöpaja), where unemployed young people can engage in Arts.
● the Sunshine Workshop (Aurinkopaja), where migrants can spend valuable time practising their Finnish language skills.
● the Join us! project for disabled people and their families.

What else…


Sauna… ice skating…. sledding… night life… 🙂




I now feel to have a good insight and understanding of the education system in Finland.

I got to know the Finnish education system, as well as the differences to Germany – in terms of work-life balance, for example. I was able to make contacts and get to know several areas (daycare centres, youth work, schools).

I have learnt to strictly separate private and professional matters.

I have developed my personality, exceeded my limits and developed my pedagogical experience.

I loved going to a real Finnish sauna and visiting the family centre.

Photo credits: Nora Somlyody, Kristof Fenyvesi, Orsolya Tuba, students and teachers of the Johanna Just Oberstufenzentrum

The program was implemented as part of the Erasmus+ KA1 programme, with the contribution of Experience Workshop Jyväskylä and the Gesellschaft für Europabildung (GEB) Berlin.


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