What Finnish Kindergarteners Know About Joy

As the father of 5 and 3-year old boys and a co-developer for Thrive Training, I wondered what would change in the world if every child went to school and discovered joy. “What if teachers used joy and play to educate our sons?” I then asked my wife.
Jim Wilder sent me a recent article in The Atlantic titled “The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland“. This article speaks volumes about two fundamental ingredients every developing brain requires to blossom: interactive joy and play. These lines caught my eye:

“Play is a very efficient way of learning for children,” she told me. “And we can use it in a way that children will learn with joy.”
“Those things you learn without joy you will forget easily.”
The word “joy” caught me off guard—I’m certainly not used to hearing the word in conversations about education in America, where I received my training and taught for several years. But Holappa, detecting my surprise, reiterated that the country’s early-childhood education program indeed places a heavy emphasis on “joy,” which along with play is explicitly written into the curriculum as a learning concept. “There’s an old Finnish saying,” Holappa said. “Those things you learn without joy you will forget easily.”

I hope to see you at Thrive next year so you too, can train in joy. Read on!

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