Comparative Analysis of the Purpose of

Topics: Kindergarten, Early childhood education, Primary education Pages: 23 (8052 words) Published: December 9, 2011
A Comparative Analysis of the Purpose of
Kindergarten in Finland and Ontario, Canada

The theories of Friedrich Froebel, the founder of kindergarten have influenced kindergartens in several regions including in Finland and Ontario, Canada. The kindergarten program in Finland is one of envy as it contributes the nation’s successful educational system. Kindergarten in Finland is a free service available to all children, which is similar to Ontario, Canada’s program which is also free to children in the province. The following paper will explore kindergarten in Finland and Ontario and illustrate that in spite of their differing systems, the principal focus of kindergarten in each region is to prepare students for formal schooling. The programs, curriculum, teacher qualifications and roles in each area collectively support school readiness. The educational systems in both Finland and Ontario are designed in such a way that each stage of education merges into the other, with kindergarten being the initial stage.

Attending school is a common routine throughout the world, with the purpose of schooling being fairly similar. As a result of societal differences, conceptions of the purpose of schooling are relative to the regions in which the schooling takes place, thus a clear global consensus for the purpose of schooling has yet to be established. In spite of a lacking global understanding, the purposes of schooling throughout the world are comparable and typically encompass providing children with educational experiences that foster academic and social development. An additional common purpose is to help students achieve academic mastery; however children require experiences that will develop abilities and skills that are necessary to achieve academic mastery. These experiences typically occur through kindergarten education. Without providing children with kindergarten experiences, they may be unfamiliar with the formal schooling environment and what it entails, thus limiting school readiness. Similarly, the conceptions of the purpose of kindergarten are also quite common throughout the world and often include a combination of play and educational programs. It is perceived that kindergarten experiences are fundamental for the transition to formal schooling (Graue, 2009, p.28). Friedrich Froebel, the pioneer of kindergarten believed that “there should be a closer harmony between kindergarten and the first two primary grades” (Heydon & Wang, 2006, p. 36). Froebel’s beliefs are evident in kindergartens around the world, as many programs support a continuum between kindergarten and the commencement of formal schooling. Kindergarten, also known as early childhood education in some parts of the world, continuously receives a lot of global attention. Recently Canada has been in the media for kindergarten reform. The nation’s province of Ontario has looked to Nordic countries, such as Finland to draw on it’s kindergarten model because of its success in Finnish society.

In addition to their kindergarten system, the Finnish formal education system has been coveted around the world. For the last few years Finland's primary education system has been the envy of the Western world as the country's 15-year-olds have been leading the world on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) program for international student assessments (PISA) (Jiménez, 2009).

The Finnish educational system ranks first among forty of the worlds most industrialized nations (Hakkarainen, 2008, p. 267). The consensus is that the educational success enjoyed by Finland “is attributed to their free high quality early childhood education programs” (Mead, 2008). As a result of this correlation, and globalization, industrialized nations may begin to restructure their kindergarten program to compare with Finland’s in hopes that children in their regions perform well on international assessments. Industrialized nations may potentially...

References: Brown, L. (2010, April 14). Ontario unveils full-day kindergarten curriculum. Retrieved
from http//
Childs, R, A. & Bower, B. (2006). Teacher Testing and Certification: An Historical Perspective
from Ontario
Dixon, G. (1990). The First Years of Kindergarten in Canada. Canadian Children, 4-8.
Retrieved from
Early Childhood Education and Care in Ontario. (2001). Child Research Net. Retrieved from
Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. (2008). Full-Day Kindergarten Moving Forward.
Retrieved from
Elliot, S. (2010, April 3). Full-Day kindergarten law needs changes. London Free Press.
Retrieved from
Finnish National Board of Education. (2009, December 18). Pre-primary Education. Retrieved
Frieson, J. (2009, June 14). All-day kindergarten ideal for children, Ontario Report says. The
Globe Mail
Graue, E. (2010). Reimagining Kindergarten. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed
for Quick Review, 75(7), 28-34
Hakkarainen, P. (2008). The Challenges and Possibilities of a Narrative Learning
Approach in the Finnish Early Childhood Education System
Heydon, R. & Wang, P. (2006). Curricular Ethics in Early Childhood Education Programming:
A Challenge to The Ontario Kindergarten Program
Huber, J. (2009, October 27). Full-day Kindergarten ‘essential’ for Ontario, McGuinty says.
Hujula-Huttunen, E. & Järvi, S. (1996). Finnish Culture and Early Childhood Curriculum.
Early Child Development and Care, 123(1), 101-113
Husa, S. & Kinso, J. (2005). Academisation of Early Childhood Education. Scandinavian
Journal of Educational Research
Honkavaara, P. (1998). Anniversaries in the Finnish kindergarten system how and why
the system was created
Jimenez, Marina. (2009, June 16). Early education’s top model: Finland. Globe and Mail.
Retrieved from educations-top-model-finland/article1183419/
Johnson, T. (2010). The New Kindergarten. Canadian Family, 52-55. Retrieved from adian%20Family%20March%202010.pdf
Karila, Kirsti, Kinos, Jarmo, Niiranen, Pirkko and Virtanen, Jorma. (2005). Curricula of
finnish kindergarten teacher education: Interpretations of early childhood
Mead, Sara. (2008, December 15). How Finland Educates the Youngest Children. The Early Ed
Watch Blog: New America Foundation
Ontario Ministry of Education Ontario. (2006). The Kindergarten Program, 2006. Retrieved
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Comparative Analysis Essay
  • Comparative Analysis Essay
  • Essay on comparative analysis
  • Comparative Analysis Essay
  • Comparative Analysis Essay
  • Comparative Analysis Essay
  • Comparative Analysis Essay
  • Essay about Comparative analysis

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free