Nanny Knows Best

Although Mary Poppins may have saved the day with "a spoon full of sugar", Nanny V employs a more pragmatic approach. No magic, just simple love, attention and consistency. And a healthy dose of humour.

The Finnish Way

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Friday, 09 January 2015
Here's a thought. Giving school children a 15-minute break after each lesson will make them more attentive in class and focused on learning.

Since the 1960s the Finns have been providing breaks after regular 45 minutes sessions and magically the children appear back in their classrooms rested and ready for their next lesson. Actually, there is no magic necessary as students respect their recess time and apparently know this routine as well as UK students know theirs.

The structured freedom throughout the day is also based on the concept that as their bodies and minds recharge they are also benefitting from learning the usual playground skills of learning to cooperate, communicate and compromise, developing social competence.

Nordic lands don't particularly have a friendly all-year-round climate and yet spending time in the outdoors is greatly supported in schools.

Most primary schools in East Asia also follow this model where students have 10 minutes after a 40 minute lesson, as it is believed that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity, whilst skipping breaks can lead to stress.

Dr James Levine, Professor of Medicine at The Mayo Clinic in the USA, says,"...the design of the human being is to be a mobile entity." He is also a proponent of standing and walking around, which is encouraged in the Finnish model as teachers alternate between yard duty and coffee breaks.

"Mental concentration is similar to a muscle", explains the good doctor. "It becomes fatigued after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover, much as a weight lifter needs rest before doing a second round of repetitions at the gym."

Makes sense, particularly if you believe the story that Albert Einstein came up with the theory of relativity riding his bicycle.

I just like the idea of school kids keen to learn with minds refreshed and ready to concentrate.
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