FinlandWay® have been active in the UAE this year as part of a strategic growth plan within the GCC region. With FinlandWay nurseries on track to open in Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2023, FinlandWay®’s search for a local Abu Dhabi pilot partner started in early 2022
The company was selected amongst a competitive global pool of candidates to be a part of the Anjal Z Masschallenge Programme, which facilitates pilots and proof of concepts in Abu Dhabi for growth-stage Early Childhood Development startups. The annual programme is initiated by The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) in partnership with The Abu Dhabi Investment Office.
Orange Seeds is a Montessori inspired British curriculum nursery in Abu Dhabi. It is based on the 7 EYFS learning areas, where the Montessori philosophy is applied, whilst implementing the curriculum.
says Marika Puoutiainen, FinlandWay®’s Head of Operations currently residing in the UAE opening the FinlandWay® MENA office and managing the pilot.
The six-week pilot ran from early April to late June. It started with a hands-on teacher training in location with a FinlandWay® pedagogical expert from the University of Helsinki. Laura Ketonen trained the selected Orange Seeds’ teachers through all the basics of the Finnish early childhood education methods and the FinlandWay® pillars of pedagogy, as well as the content and structure to be expected.
Other important parts of the FinlandWay® pilot programme included communication with parents through the FinlandWay® mobile application, evaluation of the development and how the classroom should be adapted throughout the period and activities.
During the pilot period, a class of 3-4 year old children at Orange Seeds got to take part in a specifically curated FinlandWay® project, which included learning about dinosaurs, fairytales and robotics. Learning goals varied from social- to cognitive- and motor-artistic skills.
FinlandWay®’s participatory and play-based approach to learning helped the children at Orange Seeds further develop their communication and negotiation skills during the six-week pilot.
summarises Shehla Khan, Orange Seeds’ Regional Director.
Khan further says that they plan to keep some of the practices they learnt during the pilot period beyond the project.
concludes Marika Poutiainen.