HEI Schools took up the challenge and is now offering Finnish early education to the world through several easy-to-use models. The mission of the company is to provide high-quality early education to as many children and families in the world as possible.
“The root of the HEI Schools concept is to think big: we will consider our project a success once high-quality early education and the HEI Schools concept are accessible to as many families as possible in terms of both cost and physical distance. It is part of our Nordic heritage: leveraging volume to make a well-designed product available to as many people as possible,” says Milla Kokko, CEO of HEI Schools.
Research for commercial concepts
The University of Helsinki enables the commercial development of research into business concepts through Helsinki Innovation Services (HIS).
The university is a founding partner of HEI Schools, and due to this partnership, the HEI Schools curriculum and all aspects of its pedagogical approach are based on decades of academic research on how children learn and how to best train teachers. This academic foundation, as well as ongoing new research work, are integral to the success of the HEI Schools concept.
A mission-driven company, HEI Schools strives to provide the most current, research-based early education curriculum to children all over the world in order to give them the highest-quality education possible.
“Childhood is a period of life when everything is possible. It is a period full of learning opportunities and when all the core developmental changes take place. At HEI Schools, it is our mission and commitment to support every child to reach his or her full potential – without limits and without excuses,” says Lasse Lipponen, co-founder of HEI Schools and Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Helsinki.
Extensive product offering: Finnish education now online
HEI Schools started in 2016 by offering a full kindergarten package to global markets. The HEI Schools Learning Center includes everything from detailed Curriculum materials and extensive Teacher Training to the learning environment design, a well-curated set of learning materials and a peer-to-peer Teacher Community.
The Headquarter Team provides hands-on support in the setup and launch of these Learning Centers, and this is the best option for those looking to open a completely new type of kindergarten in their region.
Another in-person education option for business owners is HEI Schools Club, an after-school educational program for children ages 1 to 6. It also offers curriculum materials, teacher training, design and learning materials based on the Finnish design but without the intensive licensing process.
New 2020: HEI Schools Teacher Toolkit and Teacher Certificate
In the summer of 2020, HEI Schools released two more products to scale the HEI concept to more markets and make it available to those who already have preschools up and running.
“We have received a lot of inquiries from already established early childhood education and childcare providers about possibilities to adapt the HEI Schools model to their schools. To meet that demand, we designed a product that offers our cutting-edge curriculum and teacher training in an easy-to-implement package to enhance early childhood education at any school under their own brand and name. Due to the challenge of international travel and in-person training, we adapted our expertise so it’s available 100% online,” says Inkeri Mentzoni, HEI Schools Sales Director.
The HEI Schools Teacher Toolkit product serves entire preschools or kindergartens around the world as a monthly subscription service. Built on an easy-to-use platform, the Toolkit includes a theoretical and practical guidebook of Finnish early childhood education, two activity plans per day for three age groups and professional development materials for teachers. It also includes home learning materials to share with parents.
HEI Schools also offers Finnish world-class teacher training with its other new product, HEI Schools Teacher Certificate. Available to any individual teacher or entire schools for their staff, this self-paced online program rewards participants with a University of Helsinki certificate in Finnish Early Childhood Education upon completion. It comprises 10 modules modeled after Finnish teacher education and 760 working hours with practical hands-on assignments that let teachers apply the play-based, holistic approach that makes Finnish education so famous.
HEI Schools continues to grow and expand
With 10 Learning Centers up and running around the world HEI Schools has partners in Baotou and Guangzhou, China; Melbourne and Lara, Australia; Seoul, South Korea; San Rafael, Argentina; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Jakarta, Indonesia; New Cairo, Egypt and Ruoholahti, Helsinki.
Future HEI Schools in progress will be in Suzhou, China; Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, Saudi Arabia; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and a few more in Australia around Melbourne and Sydney.
There are also HEI Schools Clubs coming soon to Shenzhen, China; Toronto, Canada; Nami Island, Korea and Taipei, Taiwan. With the launch of the Toolkit, HEI Schools now has a presence in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya, Canada, Ghana and Pakistan. Additionally, teachers from 15 countries, including Nigeria, Poland and the US, have purchased the HEI Schools Teacher Certificate.
“Every day, we speak to people who are excited about having access to the Finnish education model. As we grow, so does the global demand for early childhood education. Once largely considered little more than babysitting, the field has gained worldwide prominence and respect as an important developmental and educational period in a person’s life.
When we receive a contact from a new country, we can see that the hard work of our researchers and teachers has spread further than we could ever imagine,” says Milla Kokko.
She continues, “The desire to give children access to high-quality and rewarding education is everywhere: all parents want their children to be happy and successful. The research in early childhood education done in Finland supports both these outcomes. Finnish researchers don’t put in the hard work to keep this knowledge for just Finland only. They do it because they believe that there is a better way to prepare young children for the world, and they are absolutely right.”
HEI Schools is seeking for partners, customers and investors, who are inspired to develop and implement world's best early education and to take the next steps with us in scaling the model globally. Our next funding round will be executed during Q4 2020.