Implementing curricula that depend on teacher professionalism: Finnish preschool and early childhood core curricula and literacy-related practices


Finland recently adopted two national core curricula that apply to kindergartens (ages one through six). An early childhood education and care curriculum outlines expectations for children under seven (when school starts), while a preschool curriculum establishes guidelines specifically for six-year-olds. Both curricula describe broad principles, but depend on teachers' professional knowledge to interpret and implement the curriculum in their classrooms. This case study examined teachers' practices in one kindergarten building in relation to seven themes identified in the curricula relevant to learning situations and the language and communication content area. The findings indicate that the curricula were only partly implemented, with many aspects in use, but not in depth and often on an ad hoc basis. The results suggest that in order to exploit this type of curriculum to its full potential, teachers need to develop their professional knowledge through pre-service and in-service training with coaching.

Korkeamaki, RL; Dreher, MJ
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 20 (2): 217-232 Jan 2012