High Cost of Low Trust in the Preschool Sector: What can We Learn from the Finns? Dr. Trisha Craig Executive Director, Wheelock College Singapore Early Childhood Conference 2013 S The rise of global rankings S Policy Diffusion: Policy makers look to other countries and ask: How are we doing? S Increased scrutiny by public and policy makers S In Education: S PISA tests: secondary school S THE and Shanghai rankings: university S S France, Netherlands, Singapore Starting Well report: preschool S Singapore Policy Imports S The role of culture S What to consider when ‘borrowing policy’ S The case of Finland and its preschools: why so appealing? Starting Well Report 1. Finland 2. Sweden 3. Norway 4. UK 5. Belgium 6. Denmark 19. Hong Kong 24. USA 29. Singapore 36. Malaysia 44. Indonesia 45. India Clear dominance of the Nordic Welfare States What explains their success? S Wealth effect: richer countries do better in general S Measurables S High Teacher pupil ratio S Well-trained teachers S Effective subsidies S Parental involvement S Well-defined curriculum What about the nonmeasurables? S The role of trust S Pasi Salhberg (Finnish Lessons) has emphasized its importance in explaining Finland’s success S Social Capital S Francis Fukuyama S Robert Putnam Social Capital S Scholars realized there is more to explaining how societies function and how class systems and hierarchies function than economic capital alone. S Economic capital S Cultural capital S Social capital S Links with health and mortality outcomes, educational outcomes Measuring social capital S Legatum Prosperity Index S Measure of Prosperity constructed from Economic variables but also social capital. S On pure economic measures, Switzerland (#1), Nordic countries do well (Norway #2; Sweden #5) as do Singapore (3#) and Malaysia (#15), even ahead of Finland (#16) S But SE Asia and Nordic countries diverge on social capital: Nordic countries top the charts Norway and Denmark at #1 and #2 with Finland close at # 5 but Singapore (#39) and Malaysia (#100) fall off a cliff. www.prosperity.com Social capital and early childhood quality S S Combining the data from Lien Foundation and Legatum Institute shows a surprise: Economic prosperity linked to ECE quality: on the whole, richer countries to better But S Even stronger association between social capital and ECE quality S Correlation between Economic performanc and ECE quality .44 S Correlation between Social Capital and ECE quality: .58 Why is trust low in Singapore?Views from the blogosphere S “The number of parents hiring tutors and private learning centers for their children shows how much trust (or rather lack of trust) they have for MOE's schools and curriculum.” Parenting blog S “Some private childcare will do better because they still need to make a living and have some profit and must keep the customers happy” Online comment to a STN article S “The differences in quality among the preschools are too huge now. A parent who wants to send the child to a quality preschool has to fork out a lot of money to do so, and even then, this is subject to the availability of spaces.” Respondent of online Lien Foundation survey Why is trust low in Singapore?Your Views S Why? S What can we do to start to change that? Why is trust so high in Finland? Virtuous circle of competence S http://pennfinn13.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/the-voice- of-the-finnish-parent/ S Finnish teachers come from the top 10% of university graduates and teaching is routinely chosen as a career over law and medicine by high performing students. In addition, there is “high working morale” in schools as a result of time for collaboration and great support from school leaders: http://www.learningfirst.org/teachers-we-trust-interview-finnisheducation-expert-reijo-laukkanen What does high trust in the preschool sector look like? S Everyday conversations S Parent/ Teacher discussions S Jointly developed plan for the child’s preschool education S Parents’ committee S In Finland, cooperation with parents is enshrined in The Basic Education Act, which states that “those providing education (including pre-primary education) shall co-operate with children’s parents”. S Leads to a lack of anxiety when all schools are seen as (and are) just as good as and equivalent as any other. Finland’s early education plan S An individual plan is created for each child S Parents, teachers and child work together to devise the plan. S The plan takes into consideration the child's interests as well as the goals of his/her personal growth and development. S Done at the city level (reinforcing the idea that all schools are the same.) The contents of the plan S Child’s input S Info on: S Child’s wellbeing and daily routine S Emotional life and social interactions S Learning and work skills S Language and linguistic skills S Mathematical skills S Playing S Physical skills and coordination S Ethical, religious, cultural education S For all, the child’s strengths are noted, areas where they decide child need encouragement and what kind, an action plan is then agreed to for home and school that will be mutually reinforcing Leadership: Creating Trust in Low Trust Societies S Finnish example shows the system is built on a foundation of trust S Parents and families not seen as clients S Partners who work together to education the young; children included in partnership: individual academic plan S How can we begin to build trust where it doesn’t already exist Child’s Self-Assessment Aeroplane Courtesy City of Vantaa, Finland Leadership: systemic level S Teacher training is key S Raise standards and requirements for classroom teachers S Set goals and benchmarks, i.e. SPARK S Raise professionalism of teachers S Foundation for parents to trust the teachers: belief in their professionalism Training institutions: preservice and CPD focus S Much greater focus needed on Communication Skills S Active listening strategies: S Asking the right questions, S Learning to express true empathy and genuine interest S Paraphrasing and repeating back comments to ensure agreement about what is being said S Multiple and sometimes novel ways of constant communication: electronic portfolios, texts, twitter S Figure out what you want to communicate School leadership S Need more and better mentoring by senior teachers and principals on helping young teachers build communication and collaboration skills with families S Break down language barriers: have translators when language is an issue S Written communication Classroom leadership S Enacting cultural markers S Involving parents to support lesson plans S Maintain home-school connexion S Share the point and learning goals of lesson plans S Follow up with suggestions for support at home S Find out where parents need support S Engage mentors when don’t know the answer to problems Group activity S Identify some of the obstacles you would face in your daily practice to implementing some of these. S Are there ways to overcome them? S Are there ways to transform them to be more appropriate to the Singaporean context? S Then S Take a specific example of a lesson or activity that you are or will do in your class. How will you communicate to the parents the content and your goals for the children with this lesson? How will you show the parents what the child has accomplished? How will you suggest to parents what they can do to support or further the learning goals at home? Thank you!