How long does it take to get started with Kipinä?
If you have an existing daycare or preschool you can usually transition to Kipinä in 30 days. You do not have to wait to the start of a new term or year.
Can I start a new daycare or preschool using the Kipinä license?
No. The license is only available to existing operational daycares or preschools. This is part of our quality assurance protocol to ensure your existing facilities are of a suitable standard and that your facility has all the appropriate licenses from local authorities. If you are outside of the USA, Canada and the UK you may be able to secure a Kipinä franchise if you wish to start a new daycare or preschool. Click for info.
How long does it take to train my teachers?
Assuming your teachers already hold degrees in education they can complete the Kipinä training and certification process in around 2 weeks. An optional onsite workshop usually takes 5 to 8 working days. If you or your teachers would like to complete additional certified post-graduate level training in Finnish Pedagogy or Finnish Academic Leadership through our partner Häme University Finland (online), they can do this part time over 2 to 3 months while they continue actively teaching in your preschool.
Are the software and apps easy to use?
Most teachers work out how to use their app within 30 minutes of downloading it from Google Play. It's been specially designed to be highly intuitive and pictorial and follows regular social media patterns using feeds and sharing media.
Parents do not require any instruction at all. They simply download from Google Play or the Apple Store, and sign in.
You, or you admin team, will need about an hour to familiarise yourself with our School Management Software.
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.
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.
The free flow of Montessori school 'work' periods don't help children transition into a big school environment and can make it more difficult. The mixed age group classes of Montessori schools have limitations and challenges too. In our opinion, lack of imagination and fantasy play in Montessori classrooms goes against the latest research supporting the psychological benefits of dramatic play.
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.
DOES THIS MEAN A MONTESSORI SCHOOL CANNOT BENEFIT FROM THE KIPINÄ APPROACH?
No. The columns below show how the Finnish national curriculum was influenced by Montessori, and how Kipinä is similar to Montessori by virtue of using the Finnish National curriculum see. In essence, we cover the same standards but how we go about it is more effective and using the latest research. So, it is possible to integrate the Kipinä academic program in a Montessori environment.
Montessori Areas of Learning
Finnish Transversal Competencies
Taking care of oneself and managing daily life
Relationships and Character Development & Cognitive Development through Play and Exploration
Participation and involvement
Physical Development and Wellness awareness
Literacy, Communication, and Language
Thinking and learning
Numeracy & Cognitive Development through Play and Exploration
Cultural Awareness and Diversity
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.
Where is the Kipinä License available?
The Kipinä license is only available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In other countries we offer a full-brand franchise. You can find out more about the franchise version here.
Can I use the "Kipinä" name and logo
Yes, you can use the Kipinä name and logo in your daycare or preschool and in your marketing but not on your property. You must make it clear that you are teaching the Kipinä program only. For larger schools with special licenses and extended exclusivity zones you may also be able to use our name and logo side by side in partnership with your own school and on your property.
How long is a license valid?
A license is valid for ten years and can be renewed every ten years at no extra cost, provided you are not in breach of our agreement and have met agreed KPIs.
Can I cancel the license if I want?
You can cancel the license any time after the first five years simply by giving us 12 months notice in writing.
Is Kipinä a franchise?
Yes and No. In the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Kipinä is a licensed academic program and system provided to select licensees and partners with territorial exclusivity. In other countries Kipinä is a full-brand franchise.
The license distinction reflects the typically high quality of daycares and nurseries in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom where facilities are often already of a very high standard and compliance with regulatory authorities is mandatory. This allows Kipinä to work with partners who have operating preschools.
In other countries Kipinä is more likely to be engaged in renovation projects or constructing new schools and the extended protocols of a franchise (design and fit out requirements, operational inputs) are more helpful in those countries.
How are monthly subscription fees calculated?
All children in your school must be entered in the Kipinä software system so your teachers can use their apps and communicate with parents. You simply pay the fee each month based on registrations (not attendance). You do not have to provide us with audited financial records, bank statements, or copies of invoices, so there is no extra burden on your staff.