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. Kipinä emphasises fun and imagination through a teacher-facilitated model designed to lead to observable learning outcomes that are not restricted to or shaped by the resources 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.
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. 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.
Does Kipinä use textbooks to teach the children?
Would you rather follow a recipe from a cookbook or would you rather get into a kitchen and have a trained chef show you? The answer is the same, anything that could be taught from a page in a book could be better taught and memories made from doing it in real life with tangible objects.
Schools can be very competitive (more academic). Why doesn't Kipinä make children do more work on paper sheets?
Worksheets are the lowest form of education- recalling facts. The highest form of education is being able to apply knowledge, innovate, think creatively and critically. We think you would prefer a child prepared for the 21st century not the 20th.
Why does Kipinä have a "no homework" rule. Doesn't more practice make children better?
Children are only children once in their lives, let's not rush them. The home is a place for family values, whatever those values are. As parents, be present with your children and build those values! That is the best homework you can do. We don't want to extinguish their spark of joy, we want to make it grow and foster a lifelong love of learning!
Does Kipinä work with children with learning difficulties?
At Kipinä we meet all children where they are at, and guide them to where they need to be using the latest research, holistic approaches to learning, quality resources, inspiring spaces, and balanced teaching methods so all children can thrive.
Much like Finland, Kipinä follows a full inclusion policy where all children follow the same program together in the same learning environment, designed specifically for children. Individual needs are met through Focused Instruction time and early interventions are put into place and tracked on our teacher application. Teachers and teaching assistants are trained in guided learning; using children's unique needs, interests, and abilities to inform their guidance.
All Kipina academic managers complete an accredited leadership training that includes a course in special needs through our partner Häme University of Applied Sciences. In certain circumstances, additional support staff or resources may be required. This will be communicated and agreed upon with parents, teacher, and manager.
How often should my child attend Kipinä?
It is recommended that your child attends Kipinä regularly in order to benefit the most from our balanced creative exploration and focused instruction approach. In addition to progressing through our scaffolded academic program, your child will be developing the social, emotional, physical, and critical thinking skills needed to move up into the next class or big school.
It's common for children to come to Kipinä five days a week. For children under 3 years we recommend at least 3 days a week. Older children should attend 5 days a week.
How does Kipinä measure a child's development?
Kipinä measures a child's development across a continuum of learning outcomes from birth to 6 years old in our 6 domains: literacy communication and language, relationship and character development, cultural awareness and diversity, physical development and wellness awareness, numeracy, and cognitive development through play and exploration. These learning outcomes, or goals, are measured using our age-appropriate developmental skills. Teachers are tracking anywhere between 70 to 260 indicators of those skills depending on the age. Like Finland, we believe learning begins at birth. Fostering a lifelong love of learning means encouraging children to pursue knowledge, overcome challenges, and face new experiences with confidence.
Can my child join an older / younger ager group?
Kipinä facilities place children in accordance with local laws, regarding health and safety. Children will be assigned to classrooms that fit not only their academic achievement but also their emotional and physical development. Our first priority is safety and making sure your child is in the right environment to reach their full potential. Take comfort in knowing that your teacher is working with your child one on one in all areas of development, and all staff are trained in guided learning and positive behaviour reinforcement to make that happen.
Can my child transition into another class if she is learning fast?
Yes, depending on availability and in accordance with your child's developmental abilities across all domains. This is up to the discretion of the manager, academic leader, and teacher who are able to make an informed, evidence-based decision using their assessment notes, observations, and data from the teacher application.
When will my child be able to read or write?
When your child is ready! Literacy readiness looks like being able to control their emotions and body like being able to sit still, hold a pencil, handle a book, build phonemic awareness and have the vocabulary to make words. Take comfort in knowing these skills are being developed from birth onwards, and specifically being taught starting at age 3.
Will my child be able to continue to a primary school that is more academic in their curriculum?
Yes, because by the age of 5 children are ready for longer periods of academic time that Kipinä has already been exposing them to in more age-appropriate small doses.
If until K2 level my child has difficulties in reading or writing what will Kipinä do to improve their reading and writing skills?
Kipinä makes learning fun and holistic. Children that aren't inspired to read or write using the traditional methods will love learning the read and write using their whole body, senses, games, and guided activities. Best of all Kipinä teachers will be giving one on one guidance to build and expand your children's skills.
How will Kipinä handle a very active child so they will be able to follow Kipinä's lesson plan ?
All children, but particularly active children love the Kipinä learning environment because it was designed for them! They can move safely, freely, and with confidence. The colours and room set up have a calming and inspiring effect on children.
What kind of character building does Kipinä do?
Respect, responsibility, empathy, compassion, kindness, and perseverance are the Kipinä languages of character and what your teachers are building in your children throughout the day.