The drying cabinet (and other päiväkoti innovations)
At Sterling's päiväkoti, they have these drying cabinets. They look like refrigerators on the outside (and that's what I thought they were for ages, because I am a dumb foreigner), but on the inside, there are heated coils and a fan system to blow hot air.
Basically, as you can see, you hang the kids' wet stuff inside to dry after morning outdoor playtime so they can wear it again in the afternoon.
There is also a shoe/boot room that is heated with hot air blowing constantly. I need both of these things in my house. Sigh.
At päiväkoti, the clothespins used to hang up kids' clothes are labeled with their names so it's easy to keep things straight.
At päiväkoti, the kids take naps on beds that can fold into the wall, so they don't take up room when they're not in use.
When the kids go on field trips, they all wear yellow reflective vests (like a construction worker in the US might wear). It is not uncommon downtown to see a dozen small children walking double-file with a few teachers, all decked out in reflective vests and the only sound is the swish-swish of their legs walking in heavy winter coveralls. It is the most adorable thing.
At päiväkoti, the kids eat a proper hot lunch, with the same menu as the big kids have at school. It is real food and they learn to sit quietly, wait to be served, try everything at least once, and eat with a fork and spoon. If there is anything cuter than those kids downtown with their snow pants going swish-swish, it is half a dozen Finnish toddlers sitting and eating their creamy baked fish with orange and chili while using utensils in silence.
At päiväkoti, indoor slippers are a THING. It's a thing at schools, too. I think it stems from traces of melted snow and ice inevitably making it out of the boot room and into the living space, and nobody likes stepping in puddles in their thin socks. So they have these indoor slippers they can wear. Sterling's have Darth Vader on them.
And of course, if you're a parent just running in to pick up your kid, you can either take your boots off or just cover them with these ubiquitous blue shoe sleeves. They look like shower caps, but they go on your shoes. These sound like something that are optional, if you don't mind looking silly, but they are dead serious about them here. If you walk into the building to pick up your kid and you are not wearing them, you will FOR SURE get a huge stink-eye from the cleaning lady who maintains constant vigilance at the päiväkoti. (To be fair, I give stink-eye to my own family if they wear shoes on a floor I've just mopped.)
And those are some interesting things about the way they run things at päiväkoti!