In Finland, it is customary for children to line up their shoes outside the classroom and to learn in their stockinged feet. Outside classroom 3C at Laakavuori primary in Helsinki, there are only four pairs of shoes and they include the scuffed trainers of a 12-year-old boy and the sparkly pumps of a seven-year-old girl.
Inside, four children – Anastasia, Artur, Kevin and Arthur – are taking in the basics of the Finnish language. Their teacher points at a picture of a jacket and articulates the word slowly – “takki”. The children mouth it back. A teaching assistant, sitting at the back, joins in.