Finland’s repeated success in national education rankings suggests there are at least a few lessons the US can learn.

For one, the tiny Nordic country places considerable weight on early education. Before Finnish kids learn their times tables, they learn simply how to be kids — how to play with one another, how to mend emotional wounds.

But even as kids grow up, the country makes a concerted effort to put them on a track for success.

Here are some of the biggest ways Finland is winning in global education.

SEE ALSO: Finland has one of the best education systems in the world — here are 4 things it does better than the US

1. Competition isn’t as important as cooperation.

Finland has figured out that competition between schools doesn’t get kids as far as cooperation between those schools.

One reason for that is Finland has no private schools. Every academic institution in the country is funded through public dollars. Teachers are trained to issue their own tests instead of standardized tests.

“There’s no word for accountability in Finnish,” education expert Pasi Sahlberg once told an audience at the Teachers College of Columbia University. Teachers are trusted to do well without the motivation of competition.

And that’s because …

2. Teaching is one of the most-respected professions.

Teachers aren’t underpaid in Finland like they are in the US. In fact, they’re valued a lot since Finland puts a lot of stock in childhood as the foundation for lifelong development.

To become a teacher in Finland, candidates must have first received at least their master’s degree and complete the equivalent of a residency program in US medical schools. Student teachers often teach at affiliate elementary schools that adjoin a university.

The result: Teachers can be counted on to know the best pedagogical research on Read More Here