This report shares both the practical findings of the study tour and the transformational nature of the experience. The report begins with the nature and make-up of the study trip followed by a short introduction to early learning in England and Finland. The main body focuses on broad themes that sparked inspiration and motivation among the study group.
England showed us an exciting model of care and family support in their Sure Start Centres that can be replicated and modified to work in Washington. Finland introduced us to an extraordinary and comprehensive value-driven system that places the child and the well-being and education of children at the forefront of public consciousness and public
The study tour group came away impressed most by the following features of these two systems:
- Finnish child-first values and policies;
- Business community promotion of early learning;
- Real parental choice in Finland;
- Universal programs for children of any income level;
- Links between care options resulting in integrated systems;
- Professionalism of early childhood education workforces; and
- Broad support for universal publicly-financed programs among Finns.