University Teacher Trainees Practicing Finnish ECEC at By The Sea Daycare

New Nordic School’s qualified educators at the flagship daycare, By The Sea, are nowadays guiding teacher trainees from multiple Finnish universities during their university teacher practicing. We interviewed two university students, Theresia and Richards, who are both currently completing their Bachelor’s Degree Program in Early Childhood Teacher Education at the University of Turku, Finland. Their university’s ‘supervised practice period’ introduced them to the duties in the educational and teaching field before the completion of their studies.

Richards was living in his home country, Cameroon when he heard that Finland has one of the best educational systems in the world. After doing some research, his interest peaked and he decided to apply to the University of Jyväskylä. Richard now holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Jyväskylä as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Curriculum Studies from Cameroon. Richard says,

“My passion to grow and develop in my teaching career started way back when I was a teenager and used to be a Sunday school teacher in church. This burning passion for helping children grow and develop pushed me to the teaching career. Teaching is a noble profession which impacts people’s lives directly.”


Theresia also grew up in Cameroon and witnessed first-hand a system of education where teaching and learning are based on standardized testing. She had heard about Finland’s education system being one of the best in the world and decided to come experience it. Theresia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Cameroon, a higher teacher qualification in guidance, as well as a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Jyväskylä.

“I enjoy working with children. Children are so genuine in every way and give me so much joy. Through play, songs, nursery rhymes, stories, arts and craft, music and movement, games, the children learn to express themselves and become creative. They also grow their interest in learning and develop good interaction skills.”

How has your experience at By The Sea daycare been?


“I have had diverse learning experiences from the team and the children. I have learned how to guide and support children in their play and how to be part of a multicultural team. The collaborative leadership style of the manager and the warmness of the team members towards each other have created a very pleasant atmosphere in the daycare. By The Sea daycare has a warm and positive atmosphere where everyone feels supported in their tasks.

What has surprised me the most is the quality of care given to children. Children are allowed to interact and explore the versatile learning environment at their own pace and will. Childrens’ interests are greatly taken into consideration in the planning of activities. The quality of food is also great, the children eat good and healthy food.”


“I have experienced high-quality ECEC that is practically child-centered. An environment that starts its practices from the child’s perspective as much as possible. There are moments of playful explorations where you would experience quality interactions between child and educator and between peers. You can feel the spirit of community and teamwork. The feeling that you are part of the community and we all have something special to offer.

I admire the way the educators guide and support children to celebrate each other. This can be seen in celebrating the star of the week, children’s birthdays, and other successes. This provides an opportunity for children to see the good in each other, develop empathy towards each other and experience a happy childhood. Healthy and diverse nutrition play a significant role in children’s wellbeing. Mealtimes are seen as important moments of the day in ECEC, providing quality, healthy meals for the children.”


How are New Nordic School’s values of Be Bold, Collaborate, Empower, Innovate, and Have Fun shown in the daycare?


There is a lot of collaboration between the team and parents.

Learning is made fun and interesting. Childrens’ ideas are at the center of creating and planning the learning activities. For example, children were asked what they would like to play with at the park. Their idea was to use outdoor toys. This enhanced the children's play at the park, making it fun and meaningful.

The inclusion of mindfulness in the curriculum is very important as it supports childrens’ self-regulation and supports their emotional wellbeing.”


“Children participate actively in planning and creating the learning environments. These environments are created based on the children’s interests and needs. In addition, children spend most of their time in small groups which gives space for children’s initiatives, interests, ideas, and provides the opportunity for adults to observe and pay attention to the individual needs of the children.

Through environmental education, children learn to respect nature and play in nature. The forest trips are inspired by a forest troll (Metsämörri) who lives in the forest and is a friend to all the children and animals.

Mindfulness enhances children’s self-regulation skills and helps children control their behavior. It helps children feel good about themselves.”

What was your favorite activity with the children?


“My favorite activity with the children has been music and movement. I have been able to interact with children playing different musical instruments and the freeze dance which children have loved so much. I equally enjoyed singing with children during morning circles, transition, and outdoor times. These activities enhance children's motor skills.”


I enjoy singing and playing outdoors with the children. I believe that singing really helps to calm children down and brings them back to focus. Playing with children helps to extend and enrich their play and helps me to get to know the children and interact better with them.”


What are you taking from this experience?


“Learning is a continuous process. As teachers, lifelong learning and continuous education is important.”


“Being a teacher is an occupation that demands great personal involvement and creativity. It is an occupation to be proud of.”

Theresia adds,

“Africa needs an educational system that will build back trust, self-confidence, and social skills in children. They have a system that leaves students frustrated because they must memorize by heart for exams, to score good grades. Some of the children are left behind and others move forward. This has caused children who can use their creativity and imagination to build the world we need, to be left behind. '

Exporting Finnish education internationally is a wonderful initiative. A system that is not based on standardized testing but gives children the opportunity to flourish in what they like and what they can do best. ”


Meet the Team: Suzanne