The three schools, HEI Seongbuk, HEI Janggi and HEI Nonhyeon, seek to harness Finnish education’s reputation for academic excellence and teaching lifelong learning skills.
“Nordic concepts as a whole are capturing a lot of attention in Korea and [I] felt this educational model would provide the stress-free solution parents in Korea are seeking,” Song said. “They are looking to shift the dynamics [away] from how they were taught as children and focus on a better method for educating children of their own.”
The company’s commitment to educational excellence has struck a chord with Korean families seeking an alternative approach to early-childhood education, one that involves learning through play as opposed to more stressful approaches that place more focus on testing and competition.
“In Korea we are putting more and more stress on our children at younger and younger ages,” said Alina Song, head of pedagogics and manager at HEI Seongbuk. “This is placing a lot of unnecessary pressure on the smallest of children, as well as on their parents. We want to redirect our focus to understanding that children do not play to learn but learn while they play.”
Learning for all
Helsinki International Schools (HEI) was co-founded by the University of Helsinki together with experts in education and design. Aside from its focus on student development, HEI Schools distinguishes itself by providing ongoing education and support for teachers.
A mentor team of pedagogical experts joined the teaching staff at HEI Schools Korea before the opening and will continue to mentor the local teachers in the early stages of operations at each HEI school in Korea.