Educating for Success
Much is spoken about schools in Finland and how it is one of the world leaders in education. In a recent article I read about some of the key components of successfully educating our children. I will share some of the important elements highlighted and then compare these to the writings of a Christian writer, Ellen G White, the most widely published Seventh-day Adventist author. Her ministry spanned 70 years, from 1844 until 1915.
In Finland, children are given more time to play, mature and use their imagination. Ellen White wrote, “Their schoolroom should be the open air, amid the flowers and birds and their textbook the treasure of nature.” It’s fascinating to see that our Prep outdoor learning spaces are taking shape at Heritage College and that Imaginative Play is developing the minds of our children in our Junior Primary classes.
Finnish educators are qualified, respected and trusted professionals. Ellen White specified qualifications further, talking about our teachers’ personal and spiritual qualifications; “Our church schools need teachers who have high moral qualities; those who can be trusted; those who are sound in faith.” She also wrote, “Teachers are to do more for their students than to impart a knowledge of books. Their position as guide and instructor of the youth is most responsible, for to them is given the work of moulding mind and character.” Interestingly, our Heritage College Mission Statement follows suit:
To provide quality Christian education which caters for the development of the mind, body and spirit of all students; to assist them to achieve their potential, expand their skills, develop positive self-esteem and, by reflecting Christian values, become a vital and compassionate member of the community.
Free hot lunches are part of the official curriculum in Finland, along with lessons in health and nutrition. We are not in a position to provide free hot lunches at Heritage College, but our staff and students have recognised a need at our NWS Campus. Starting this week, we have initiated a breakfast club, to help fuel and nourish the bodies and minds of our students, who might otherwise miss out on breakfast, for just the cost of a gold coin per sitting. White’s writings reinforce this notion. “When students leave college, they should have better health and a better understanding of the laws of life than when they entered it. The health should be as sacredly guarded as the character.”
The article closed with this; “Finnish education stops short of the redemptive purpose Ellen White envisioned of leading students to Christ, thereby preparing them for ‘the higher joy of wider service to the world to come.’”
Mr Roger Sevenhuysen
Deputy Principal Primary
(Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, Adventist World Magazine; Ellen G. White, Counsels for the Church, Daughters of God, Fundamentals of Christian Education)