Pyhä melu (Holy Noise) - Core Curriculum for Early Childhood and Pre-school Education of the Orthodox Church of Finland. Enacted in 2011 by the General Synod of the Orthodox Church of Finland.
According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which were ratified by Finland in 1991, children are entitled to their own religion. Parishes have the mission to support families in their parenthood. The Government of Finland has in 2002 laid basic guidelines for early childhood education (Vasu). They are also guidelines for childhood education in parishes.
Children are immediately after baptism and chrismation autonomous members of the Orthodox Church, therefore the Orthodox Tradition does not acknowledge “liturgies for children”. Children attend divine services together with the other parishioners.
The aim of Pyhä melu (Holy Noise) is to conform pre-school education, but it is not a finished plan. Each parish has to set up their own curricula taking into account their own resources.
Main Levels of Curriculum for Early Childhood (ages 3-6)
1. Orthodox Culture
Children learn to make the Sign of the Cross. They identify icons to be holy pictures and are able to name icons of Christ, the Mother of God and also icons of angels. They know that a priest is the father of a parish and the Bible the book of the Church. Children recognize an Orthodox church building to be the church of their own parish. They are able to name an Orthodox church candle and different kinds of the Cross.
2. Divine Services and Festivities
Children are aware that Orthodox Divine services are also aimed for them. They know how to be able to attend divine services and practice taking part in Holy Communion. They learn the prayer O Heavenly King and the Easter Troparion. At Liturgy they recognize The Lord’s Prayer. They know the meaning of Christmas and are able to perform an Orthodox blessing tradition on Palm Sunday. They are aware that Easter is the greatest Feast of all Christians.
3. Orthodox Identity
Children learn Orthodox traditional customs, the use of making the Sign of the Cross and kissing icons. They know how to receive blessing from a priest or a bishop. They are aware of each one having one’s own heavenly intercessor and understand the importance of their name day. They are aware that God is the Creator and Jesus the Good Shepard and know how to act respecting Nature. They recognize other cultures. They learn Orthodox Palm Sunday traditions and identify special characteristics of Easter time.