HelsinkiWeek-Long Study Tour | Child Development & Diversity Program

On this week-long Study Tour, you will have the opportunity to broaden your understanding of the ‘Nordic perspective’ on child development and education. Visits will provide you with a forum to discuss and debate cultural differences within ‘best practice’ and encourage you to explore the historical, economic, and social background factors that influence the ways we work with children.

The vision for this tour is to investigate what continuously – not only in Denmark, but also worldwide – is viewed as one of the world’s best educational systems. We will explore first-hand what professionals do to meet the needs of children and families. The goal is to become inspired by pedagogical tools and interventions, and hypothesize possible explanations for what factors make a difference for low achievement, social inequality, and educational policies.  By combining research, policy, and practice, we will begin to uncover the foundations of the Finnish system in order to apply this knowledge to experiences in Denmark and the United States.

By treating visits as individual case studies, the tour is also supplemented with cultural visits to help integrate theories presented in classroom with observations and reflections, and set the stage for an extended study of Finnish education.

Tour Objectives

  • Explore why Finland has such a long history of high student achievement in comparative studies like ‘PISA,’ even in relation to other Scandinavian countries
  • Investigate factors that contribute to how the Finnish teacher training program is viewed within the greater society, and what makes admission there so competitive
  • Analyze the Finnish context for children through visits to cultural, educational, and historical sites

Possible Activities

  • Visit with policy makers and local authorities to explore how they view and support education from a political perspective
  • Take extended visits at Finnish public schools and children’s institutions to gain insight into the routines of these programs
  • Meet with faculty at teacher training programs to learn more about the experience and requirements to become a teacher in Finland