While nearly all nursery and preschool programs emphasise fun and play, not all fun and play is equal. Research from Harvard, and extensive experience in Finland shows that structured play guided by qualified teachers presents the best learning outcomes for children.
Is Kipinä compatible with other curricula and approaches?
Yes. Kipinä already works with national curricula in 15 countries and 7 languages. There are Kipinä campuses within K12 schools following the IB program and the Cambridge Program. In developing the Finnish approach to early childhood education it should be noted that many curricula and approaches were studied and in some cases integrated. This includes diverse curricula such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia as well as approaches in Canada, the USA and UK, and allied areas such as STEAM and Special Needs.
Additionally, Kipinä has enhanced the Finnish Curriculum to make it blend seamlessly with global standards and to help children easily integrate into any big school environment. We achieved this by integrating 21st Century Skills, Executive Functioning, and by using Focused Instruction. Kipinä also matches learning outcomes with local standards to ensure literacy and numeracy skills are equivalent.
What ages does the Kipinä curriculum cover?
Kipinä provides distinct detailed scaffolded curricula for children from birth to 6 years old. In addition we provide weekly lesson plans for all these age groups. In your daycare or preschool you do not have to teach all age groups. Some of our nurseries and day cares only work with children for 2 to 4, while others accept children from birth to 4 years. Some of our preschools teach from birth to 6 years, while others prefer to work only with kids from 2 to 6 years. We support the model you wish to use.
How does Kipinä differ from Montessori?
Finland has been enormously successful in making its education system respected worldwide. But Finland's approach to education was not developed in a vacuum. Indeed Finland borrows from many approaches including Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Steiner and the American and UK approaches. Montessori started more than 100 years ago - before air travel, mobile phones, and the internet. Montessori was originally a method to help children with practical life skills and that ethos still continues today.
Both Montessori and Kipinä use a play-based learning approach. However, not all play is the same. Whereas Montessori uses specific toys to develop premeditated outcomes and children often play alone in 'work cycles' (where sharing and social interaction is not the priority), Kipinä kids learn in small and large groups to encourage socialisation, and development of soft skills (collaboration, empathy, team work). Kipinä teachers are guiding the children but not emphasising an outcome so that children develop their creativity, spontaneity and unique personalities.
Kipinä emphasises fun and imagination through a balanced model of both teacher-facilitated 'focused instruction' and student lead 'creative exploration' designed to lead to observable learning outcomes and build age specific developmental skills that are not restricted to or shaped by the resources or mixed abilities in the room.
The Montessori name is not copyright. Therefore there is a lot of variance in what is offered to parents as Montessori - from some high quality preschools with well-trained teachers to absurd environments with little or no ties to any authentic Montessori philosophy. Kipinä is a proprietary academic program and brand with substantive trademarks around the world. Kipinä preschools are subject to audits. Therefore, parents can be quite sure of getting the quality they expect and partners have exclusive protected territories.