Text: Pauli Määttä
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
Our four-year-old grandson started preschool. Both his parents and his grandparent worried about his adjustment. Apparently, however, everything went well. He found new friends. The only disappointment was that the handsome minibus which took him to school for the first few days was later replaced by an ordinary car. A cause of joy was the pair of trainers bought by mom and grandma from a second-hand store. They turned out to be the second fastest in his class.
The Finnish school has gone through major change over the decades. When my parents were little, some children still went to circulating school for only part of the school year. But primary schools were soon being built in all parts of the country. Nearly the whole of their age class acquired a basic reading skill. But during the war time that followed, many children and young people were unable to continue their studies. They had to make do with what they learnt in life. But later in life many of them wanted to ensure that their own children were able to study further. In a way, their children were to make true the dreams they had had for themselves when they were younger.
As far as education is concerned, I have been living under lucky stars. We had a small and safe primary school fairly close to my home. The publicly funded middle school was accessible even to children of less prosperous homes. Moreover, I was able to attend high school while living at home, because there was good bus service even to remote villages. For post-secondary education we had a system of student loans. My summertime work practice was unpaid, so I could not make any money for the first few years. But if I kept my purse strings tight, I managed almost the whole year with my loan. I only needed to ask my parents for a small allowance before the first loan installment for the next academic year was paid.
Afterwards I have often wondered how our middle school teachers managed. There were 40 students per class and no classroom assistants or other auxiliary personnel. I guess some of the teachers hardened by the war were quite strict. My Swedish teacher was very small. When she came in, we all had to stand up. She then began to question us on our homework. If you could answer her question, you were allowed to sit down. If not, you had to remain standing until you gave a correct answer. It seems I spent most of my Swedish lessons standing.
Finland has usually rated high in the global ranking of learning outcomes. But the results have not been quite so good in the past few years. I do not know if this is due to changes in surrounding society. Or has something happened in schools? At least the old ways of learning things by heart have been replaced by more stimulating learning environments. Some children benefit from this change, but some might need a safer and more peaceful environment. Also, I have been able to follow the life of a nearby high school, and I have seen that the kids no longer play football or snow games during the breaks. Instead, they hang around in the corridors glued to their mobile phones.
When I was little, kids started school when they were seven. They spent their first year learning to read. Despite this slow start, some of us studied and accomplished a lot. Now younger and younger children are starting preschool. Why the hurry, I wonder. I am sure they will all find things to do when they grow older. We will need both people with manual skills and experts in knowledge work.
Life-long learning is a catch phrase. All people face changes at work and need to learn new skills. Many even need to learn a new job, and very few people stay in the same job all their working life. This learning process combines with life experience, which is something we gain more and more every year. We often need to learn new things at the time when our life is busiest. It is a challenge to plan our time use well in those situations.
We can learn new things even at an older age. Päivämies recently published an article about a person who published a doctoral dissertation at the age of 79, having started in the old kind of primary school. Not everybody needs to aim at a doctorate. But it would be good for all elders to have an objective or an interest that brings satisfaction and requires at least some level of brain work. The human brain is an unbelievably sophisticated organ. It is perfectly well able to acquire new content even at advanced age.
My grandchildren are often happy to tell me about the friends they have at school or in day care. How important it would be for every one of them to have even one friend. And not to be bullied. Bullying may leave scars that never heal. Adults should take resolute action as soon as they see signs of someone being bullied. I do not know if bullying is a new phenomenon, but I do not remember experiencing or seeing such behavior when I was at school, though there certainly were some fist fights.
When I look at my grandchildren going to day care or school, I want to fold my hands in prayer. I hope and pray that the Heavenly Father would bless these children on the path of faith in the years to come and until the end of their lives.
Häpeä on monessa tilanteessa tarpeellinen tunne, jota me ihmiset herkästi peittelemme. Sen taustalla voi olla ajatus siitä, että muut ihmiset pitävät meitä huonona tai väärin käyttäytyvänä. Häpeän kyljessä esiintyviä tuntemuksia ovat esimerkiksi kelpaamattomuus, huonommuus ja jopa mitättömyys.
Nuortenkirja kertoo kahdeksasluokkalaisen Sallan kouluvuodesta, jonka aikana rinnakkaisluokkalainen Niko tulee pikkuhiljaa osaksi kouluarkea. Kirja käsittelee ihastumista, ystävyyttä sekä vastuullisuutta ja rehellisyyttä ihmissuhteissa.
Lämminhenkisessä lastenkirjassa kuvataan perheen vaikean tilanteen herättämiä tunteita ja pelkoja sekä niistä selviytymistä. Kirja tarkastelee lapsen näkökulmasta perheen muuttunutta elämää, joka vähitellen alkaa tuntua tutulta. Läheisten rakkaus ja uskon tuoma turva kantavat.