What educational objectives are considered important by preschool teachers in Helsinki and Tallinn?
Juhani Hytönen, Leena Krokfors, Leida Talts, Maie Vikat
Tallinn Pedagogical University, University of Helsinki
Abstract. The present article deals with the educational objectives of Helsinki and Tallinn preschool teachers. The national regulations and objectives of preparation for school of the capital cities of both countries – Estonia and Finland – are compared. The study is based on a questionnaire carried out among preschool teachers of Helsinki in 2001–2 and Tallinn in 2002–3. The term preschool training in the present context means the education given a year before the beginning of compulsory school education.
The authors of the present article view school readiness as a consistent process, taking place in the preschool period, which continues uninterruptedly in the context of school. The theoretical basis of the study relies on the principles of child-centred pedagogy. The comparative analysis is based on sixteen characteristics emphasising educational objectives, which were selected as a result of factor analysis. The common features of the preschool teachers of the two countries are high professional competence and adherence to the principles of child-centred pedagogy. As compared to Finnish teachers, Estonian teachers attach more importance to achieving concrete results when setting their objectives. As compared to Estonian teachers, Finnish teachers give stronger emphasis to developing a positive self-image in children and promoting their abilities necessary for learning.