Joyful Illiteracy? Yes! Yes! Yes!

Cuerda Desgastada

While our Aussie children are stretched and snapping, children from a far away country are thriving. Can you imagine a nation revelling in words such as THE JOYFUL ILLITERACY OF KINDERGARTEN CHILDREN? Well read the link provided at the end of this article!

While we are ripping children from sandpits and block corners to give them boring workbooks, the Finns are quietly allowing (actually encouraging) their young children to play and experiment and be active and NOT stressing about literacy. In fact their children enjoy extraordinary literacy standards with far fewer tests and worksheets.

They TEACH their children rather than continually testing. Over-testing of children is like digging up beautiful, flowering, healthy rose bushes to see if they have roots. Eventually they will wither. This is happening to our children- right before our eyes!

In Finland children are encouraged to play because the well documented power of play is understood by their educators. There’s an old Finnish saying, “Those things you learn without joy you will forget easily.” I would like to see that on a poster in every classroom in the world! (Universities as well)

Every 45 minutes, children in Finnish schools are encouraged to get up and go outside to play (even in cold weather!) We know what happens when children are allowed to freely move and actually get outside- better results!

So why are we modelling our system on those that do the opposite to these practices? Erroneous thinking, lack of research and knee-jerk reactions rather than calm consideration of what is actually best for children.

Will it only be when our classrooms are full of depressed, nervous and stressed out children who are stretched to breaking point and “snapping” like dry leaves that we will consider change? Well that is already happening. Even ONE child snapping and losing joy, confidence and a sense of I CAN is too many!

It’s time to say WE WERE WRONG and allow children to become children once more. Maybe it’s time to celebrate the joyful illiteracy of our own pre-schoolers and leave them in the sandpits if we want the high literacy standards enjoyed in Finland.

I’m off to jump in our sand-pit with some playful, creative pre-schoolers……..





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