Early education the Finnish way

HEI Schools Lara ELC.

Geelong parents and carers now have the opportunity to provide their children with the choice of attending one of two excellent early learning centres, each modelled on the Finnish curriculum – widely regarded as the world’s best.

Lisa Blackwell, who holds an Advanced Diploma of Children’s Services and has worked in the Early Childhood profession for more than two decades, is director at each of the centres.

HEI Schools ELC in Lara opened in December 2019, and the second, ILO EEC in Norlane, launched in October last year. Lisa explains the preschool model adhered to at both centres.

“The international preschool concept originated in Finland, co-founded by the University of Helsinki by experienced educational and design experts,” she says.

“The model embraces Nordic values of accessibility and openness, which, by the way, are very likely to be part of the reason that, once again, Finland was ranked #1 in the UN’s 2020 World Happiness Report.

“At both HEI (which means ‘Hi!’ in Finnish) and ILO (which means ‘Joy’ in Finnish), we believe learning happens everywhere. The centres focus on providing a rich foundation for the progress of children’s emotional development, skills and competence as active learners.

“We introduce children to adventuring, exploring and discovering new things and using different skills as part of their whole learning process.

“We value a child’s perspective, creativity and play, exploration, encouragement and social and emotional skills.”

The large, beautifully designed centres cater for children aged from 12 weeks to five years old. HEI Schools Lara ELC has the capacity to cater for 131 children, while ILO Norlane EEC has the capacity to cater for 122 children. Plans are afoot to open a third centre in Waurn Ponds later in 2021.

In order to meet individual needs, each centre has six dedicated rooms: Nursery, Toddlers, Junior Toddlers, Pre-kindergarten, Kindergarten, and before and after school care.

• ILO Norlane Early Education Centre, 11 Gerbera Avenue, Norlane. 3214

Opens 6.30am-6.30pm MondayFriday (closed public holidays).

Inquiries: 5292 2179; Facebook / Instagram @ilonorlane; Website: www.iloeec.com.au

• HEI Schools Lara Early Learning Centre, 69-71 Buckingham Street, Lara 3212

Opens 6.30am-6.30pm MondayFriday (closed public holidays)

Inquiries: 5282 2575; Facebook / Instagram @heischoolslara; Website: www.heischools.com.au