Since its roll-out began in 2016 coding is a mandatory, cross-curricular activity that starts from first year of school for every child in Finland. In the national curriculum for primary education coding is not a subject on its own, but rather it is viewed as a medium for getting things done, a tool for learning and examining other matters.
The curriculum emphasizes developing so-called transversal competences: a combination of knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and will. The transversal competences are comprised of seven dimensions: thinking and learning-to-learn, interaction and expression skills, managing daily life and taking care of oneself, multiliteracy , ICT competence, working life competence and entrepreneurship, and social participation and influence. The intention is that subject studies ideally include developing the transversal competences, meaning that all of the subjects studied in school should encourage, for example, developing ICT competence.
Programming has been integrated in the national core curriculum as part of both the transversal ICT competence as well as part of the subject studies of math and crafts. The emphasis is on developing computational thinking skills and therefore Finnish pupils learn programming in age-suitable environments. Typically this means unplugged activities and games for grades 1-2, graphical programming environments from grade 3 on-wards, and finally learning to apply algorithmic thinking to create simple programs using a textual programming language in grades 7-9. As a learning objective integrated in craft, students also practice basics of robotics and automatisation in grades 3-6 and lean to implement embedded systems and using programming in designing and manufacturing products in grades 7-9.
Wish to know more about how Finland has incorporated programming in the national core curriculum? We provide expert lectures about the curriculum and status of teaching at Finnish schools. More details here.
Read more about our digital materials that support the objectives of the Finnish curriculum here.