Job and Child - how to organize?

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Myria
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Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by Myria » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:24 pm

Dear Finland Forum,
we will move to Helsinki in April. House, work, school - all set. Our daughter was accepted in Maunula primary school. I was amazed to find out that a regular day in a finnish primary school ends around lunch time. I am a working mum with a working husband. How on earth am I going to manage? How do you manage? How do you manage work and kids during the week and during this endless summer-vacation? Why are the results of the PISA -testing in Finland so good if the kids do spend close to no time in school compared to the US or the UK?
Please let me know how you organize your job and your kids!
Thanks Myria



Job and Child - how to organize?

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Rip
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by Rip » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:35 am

(My kids are too young that i would have really needed to thought about these)

One option is the local play park ('leikkipuisto' which in terminology used Helsinki city means a place with both outdoor and indoor facilities) which have during the school year organized activities for school children during the afternoons. For prior registration and monthly fee children (primarily the 1st and 2nd graders) can get a snack served, otherwise it's free.
Some information in English:
http://www.hel.fi/hki/Sosv/en/Services+ ... Play+parks
http://www.hel.fi/hki/Sosv/en/Services+ ... Pp_Maunula

More in Finnish:
http://www.hel.fi/hki/sosv/fi/leikkipui ... p-toiminta

First summer will be the hardest for you, after that you can have fairly long vacations yourself, and I think it is common that parents with small children and two working parents have them with only partial overlap.


LadyInTheSky
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by LadyInTheSky » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:36 pm

Also, almost all workplaces keep a much shorter work day than in US & UK - 8 hours max. Most employers give parents a certain schedule flexibility, recognizing that parents need to drop the kids off at school / day care at a certain time and pick them up by 4pm or no later than 5pm. You won't be 'shunned' for needing to do this like in some English speaking countries, because everyone else will be rushing off to do the same. If you have a very high powered position, it may mean some working in evenings from home, but overall pace of worklife in Finland is very family friendly.

As for the test scores -Finns take a different approach, and it works for them, but if you're kids are used to the UK it may take some initial adjustment. "Hover parenting" and an adult directing the kids constantly with activities still has not fully caught on here.


meplusthree
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by meplusthree » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:17 pm

The school hours are not regular - at least in Kirkkonummi where I live. So there can be different start/end times for each school day with some days ending at 13:30.

To help with this there is an after school day care service for kids in years 1 & 2 - Iltapäiväkerhot - see here http://www.lastenliitto.fi/helsinki/86-iltapaivakerhot.
I think that places may be limited so you should book in advance.

Its quite normal for Kids to walk to school on there own in Finland.

I managed as a part time single dad - working from 7-3, Kids went to school on there own and I picked them up from the Iltapäiväkerhot. So it should be no problem if you are a couple arranging a suitable system.
My Kids only went for one year to the after school club after that they were home alone and I never had a problem.


Myria
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by Myria » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:28 pm

Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

OK - this will be different. Young Children alone at home? How do you prevent them from watching TV all the time or wrecking their brains with computer games?

We lived in the US for some time. School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a high quality after care until 5 or 6 p.m. with sports, math, reading, writing, science - all about learning, learning, learning and being prepared to compete in a global market. Yes, even the young ones! During the US vacations: very high quality summer camps - all about learning, learning, learning, some sports and how to compete. (You probably think this is horrible - but our daughter loved it - she did not think it was school or work or pressure - she thought this was fun, because it was taught in a fun way).

Back in Germany, parents go nuts, because school hours are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.only. So they enroll their children in a lot of private learning clubs - piano, sports, reading, math, science. Because they see that children learn absolutely nothing at all in school. And they see how tough it is to get into University or to enroll in high-quality jobs in a globalized world. As a mum you end up being a taxi driver in the afternoon. A lot of mums quit their job to make sure their kids will succeed in school and in life. No kidding.

We enrolled our daughter in a private British school (located in Germany) - school hours from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m plus 2 times afternoon clubs until 4.30 p.m. So I am not driving her around - and at the same time she gets a quite good education. (Not the best possible one - but ok).

Comparing the systems so far - I liked the US system best. UK second and there is no way into the German system for us. The kids in Germany - in a public school - learn close to nothing. If you want a well educated kid in Germany you have to pay a lot of money and invest a hell of a lot of time.

So will I be ending up teaching my child extra hours and drive her around in the afternoon to make sure she will be prepared for our next move - probably back to the US? Because the Finnish system - as it seems to me at present - with not a lot of school hours and no organized after care - What did I expect? ... I was thinking to move to the country with the best school system in the world! Am I wrong?

How is your impression - do your children learn enough within the Finnisch school system - enough to be internationally competitive? And to be able to move between the systems? Will I have to send her to a boarding school soon?

There must be some Expatriates in this forum who did several moves between the systems. Did you always choose the International school over the local schools? By the way - having visited ISH twice - I was not happy at all with the academic level - this is why we, in the end, decided for a public Finnish school. Was this a mistake?


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Karhunkoski
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by Karhunkoski » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:09 pm

Myria wrote: How is your impression - do your children learn enough within the Finnisch school system - enough to be internationally competitive?
What exactly do you mean by, "internationally competitive"? '

If you're asking whether the kids will be able to add up and subtract as well as the foreign kids. Then the answer is yes.

If you're asking whether they will learn the interpersonal skills required to operate in an international business environment. Then the answer is more doubtful for a number of reasons. That said, the exposure to different cultures will teach then far more than any school can :D
Myria wrote:Because the Finnish system - as it seems to me at present - with not a lot of school hours and no organized after care - What did I expect? ... I was thinking to move to the country with the best school system in the world! Am I wrong?
Yes you're wrong. The actual schooling is world class. The after school-care is your responsibility, after all they're your kids, no? If you're so keen on American systems, take some own responsibility for "after school activities" and stop expecting tax money to help you out.
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Myria
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by Myria » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:46 pm

Sorry about going a bit over the edges. No I do not expect tax money to go entirely into the education of my child. I am more than willing to pay my bills, my taxes and to pay for extras. (this is why I go to work) . But I am not willing to be the taxidriver for my kid or the teacher of my child. I am a terrible teacher. I have no clue about maths and my child is far ahead of me in English Finnish and German. She has got about 200% more brains than I've got. I can not teach her anything but social skills and take care of a loving environment.

By internationally competitive I was referring to the ability of being fluent in at least two languages, at least english and mothertounge. Basics in spanish and chinese will help as well. Maths, technology and engineering, as well as science are essential to my understanding of modern times. To know about politics, markets and how societies work, helps as well. right?

Well, I obviously will find out soon. I was just curious about your experiences.


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Cory
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by Cory » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:11 pm

You've not mentioned how old your daughter is. It may be that the school you've mentioned would give a ball-park age but some of us aren't in the capital region so wouldn't have a clue about the school.

Sounds like you didn't do your homework before choosing Finland to bring your daughter to. :) The higher up they go, the more hours are added to the school day. Is she older than 2nd class? If not, there could be after-school clubs near by. Some day-cares also offer after-school care. Most children are on their own after school, however, from 2nd class, for a few hours. Since a great portion of the children in your daughter's class will also be in the same situation at home, the kids are generally never alone. They buddy up and will spend time together. They'll also all have mobile phones so that they can call their parents if needed.

Kids are independent many years ahead of those in the UK or the US. It's not a bad thing, just different.
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Upphew
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by Upphew » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:20 pm

Myria wrote:OK - this will be different. Young Children alone at home? How do you prevent them from watching TV all the time or wrecking their brains with computer games?
If they can hack the computer they are smart enough to play the games, not wreck their brains.

Have you looked at what the tv listings say during the afternoon?
Myria wrote:So will I be ending up teaching my child extra hours and drive her around in the afternoon to make sure she will be prepared for our next move - probably back to the US? Because the Finnish system - as it seems to me at present - with not a lot of school hours and no organized after care - What did I expect? ... I was thinking to move to the country with the best school system in the world! Am I wrong?
At least the PISA rankings seems to indicate that during the early years the Finnish system seems to work.
Myria wrote:How is your impression - do your children learn enough within the Finnisch school system - enough to be internationally competitive? And to be able to move between the systems? Will I have to send her to a boarding school soon?
Do children have to be "internationally competetive"? Can't they be "just" children?
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onkko
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by onkko » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:32 pm



When you look at achievemts of different education systems your "liking" isnt really relevant.
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Rosamunda
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by Rosamunda » Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:42 am

Pasi Såhlberg (who appeares in that video), Director General of CIMO at the Finnish Ministry of Education, has recently published a book about the Finnish education system:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finnish-Lessons ... 074&sr=8-1

It gives a thorough review of the history of the Finnish education system; a critical analysis of the current state of education in Finland (The Finnish Paradox: Less is More) and interesting views concerning the future trends.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archive ... tion=false


CH
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by CH » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:48 am

Myria wrote:By the way - having visited ISH twice - I was not happy at all with the academic level - this is why we, in the end, decided for a public Finnish school. Was this a mistake?
Was it a mistake? Well, that depends on what your plans are wrt to staying in Finland. Your child will start out at a disadvantage, not knowing the language. But, on the other hand, if you plan on actually staying in Finland then your child would have a major disadvantage later on if she didn't know the language. So... it depends.

We do not have an "academic level" at the lower grades. It is the three "R"s that count at that time. And really... is there any proof that putting your child in the rat race at a very early age will give them any "international advantage" later on? Learning languages, sure... having educated and involved parents... sure... but just starting "academics" when they should be playing in the mud and coloring? And why on earth would you want to do that to your child just for some perceived "international advantage"? What the heck is "international advantage" anyway??? I watch what they seem to be doing in the US, starting "first grade" at a lower and lower age... no, it's not called first grade but that's what it in essence is, and I see it as totally crazy! Loooooong hours in school at an young age... for what????

Let your child be a child. Read to her... that has actually been shown to help in learning. Teach her to see the world around her and have an inquisitive mind. All that "international advantage" crap can wait.


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skye
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by skye » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:30 am

The kids in Germany - in a public school - learn close to nothing. If you want a well educated kid in Germany you have to pay a lot of money and invest a hell of a lot of time.
Sorry, but that's just plain nonsense. You can't do the equation: full day in school = good education vs. half day in school = bad education.(And I refrain from doing any jokes now about the knowledge of US kids when it comes to history or geography...) Growing up in Germany, I actually felt that I got a really good eduction - learning 3 languages, maths, physics, chemistry, geography etc. And graduating from university & working in an international environment for several years proves that I at least learned enough to compete out here. In Germany most of the schools are public schools - we simply don't the typical private/public system in that extend as it's known in the US/UK. But that doesn't mean it's good or bad - it's just a different system.

Same as with the afterschool activities: In Finland as well as in Germany you simply don't have the same concept of after school clubs or summer camps everywhere. But kids are nevertheless active - just in a different way. You spend the afternoon with your friends outside, or go to sports clubs or swimming in summer or or or. And I can't recall that my parents where driving me everywhere: You have your bike or your feet, and that's it. It's not better or worse: It's just different.

A lot of my friends had parents who were both working. They had breakfast with their parents in the morning, then went to the bus, went to school, got home from school with their own key, and then did their homework. If you are used to this kind of schedule from an early age, it's just as normal as spending time in school until the evening.


LadyInTheSky
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by LadyInTheSky » Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:36 pm

Instead of panicking before you've even arrived you might try and see the benefits. Finnish children learn independence and self-sufficiency. Your children might benefit in their "international competitiveness" by getting the chance to experience figuring out what to do on their own and being responsible (depending on their age) rather than being constantly shuttled about to programs or minded in a formal learning setting for 10 hours a day.

Anyway, there are lots of different activities beyond school for them from sports to arts to ..., Helsinki public transport is excellent and set up for kids to use it. If you're being recruited by a company ask your relocation specialist to help you find the right activities, as you'll need a fair bit of Finnish to sort the options.


CH
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Re: Job and Child - how to organize?

Post by CH » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:17 pm

eles wrote:
Finnish children learn independence and self-sufficiency
who are probably not yet even capable of spelling such words.
Omatoiminen and omavarainen? I'm pretty sure more or less any second or third grader here can spell it, that would be the age around where kids start to be home alone.
eles wrote:Indeed, as also pointed out earlier in this thread, it is not the normal thing to do coming from a US or UK perspective. And I should imagine with good reason.
Yea, the US and the UK of course sets the standard for all other countries.


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