Reps: Final kindergarten curriculum will take a couple more years ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A language immersion group in Tartu's Kelluke Kindergarten.
A language immersion group in Tartu's Kelluke Kindergarten. Source: Sille Annuk/Postimees/Scanpix

It will be another couple of years until the final version of Estonia's new national kindergarten curriculum, a working version of which was released last week, will be complete, Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Centre) said on Wednesday.

The working draft of the new national kindergarten curriculum drawn up by the Ministry of Education and Research has led to an outcry among kindergarten and other teachers, who find that the new curriculum degrades them as well as children.

According to Reps, however, discussions regarding the curriculum are still ongoing, and no working versions thereof are final in any way.

"The way I have understood it as minister, there are different work groups and different working versions involved here," the minister told ERR. "No working version has yet reached the level of minister, the level of directive, the level of regulation, or the level of a decision by the Government of the Republic."

She said that she is unable to confirm the discussions of one or another expert, or which is the best wording, adding that the ongoing discussions would help to bring clarity.

"By the time it reaches the minister's desk, it will include wordings reflecting the consensus of the majority of universities and working teachers," she noted.

Regardless, Reps believed that it will be another couple of years until the final version of the curriculum is complete.

"The development of a curriculum both on the general education and the kindergarten level is a years-long process, and there are no plans for any politician or ministry official to secretly adopt anything in a hurry," she stressed.

Critics: Curriculum marks step backward

In an appearance on ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera last Thursday, Tiia Õun, director of the School of Educational Sciences at Tallinn University (TLÜ), said that she considered the recently published working version of the new national kindergarten curriculum marks a step backward.

"On one hand, the curriculum is lacking teaching strategies on how to understand a child's learning," Õun said. "On the other, [teachers] feel as though their autonomy is being limited. There is also the matter of how research-based this is ⁠— what has this curriculum been drawn up based on?"

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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