I have applied in TES (The English School) Helsinki, for my daughter's admission in the first grade. And I could receive a call for her entrance test anytime in coming April from them.
I am told that they would conduct the entrance test, which would comprise of English Language test, Mathematics and Interview. I wanted to know if there is anybody on this forum whose kid is going to The English School or have appeared for the First grade entrance test. I would like to know about their experience and it would be great if they can give me some idea/details about the test. For example:
Do they demand the kid to read and write as well, if so to what extent (reading writing words/sentences/alphabets???)
What level of mathematics knowledge they expect from the 6-7 year old kid (reading and writing just the numbers or addition/substraction/multiplication skills as well)
Also what kind of skills they look for in the Interview part?
It would be a great help if anybody can give me some insight on this.
As far as I know ALL the English language schools in Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo are now using the same entrance examination for first graders. I have posted several replies on here (some of them quite recently) you might be able to find them by using the search engine (top right-hand corner of the screen).
I am surprised that you mention a maths test. I have never heard of this before. My understanding is that primary schools are NOT ALLOWED to select according to academic ability, so the only reason why there should be a maths test would be to get a better understanding of the child's level of English. The schools are allowed to check for learning disabilities but I think this is done in the school readiness test.
Maybe someone else has some more recent information on this.
Hello Penelope, Yes, even I thought that a 6-7 year old is not required to read and write in the entrance test. But I read this on the website of 'The English School':
"All children applying for entry into classes 1-9 of The English School, are charged a fee of 60 € for the administration of entrance tests. The entrance tests consist of an English language test, both oral and written, a math test and a Finnish language test for Finnish citizens."
I doubt if the maths test applies to first grade entry and they certainly wouldn't expect kids to know multiplication! But I suggest you call the school to ask. Maybe you will get some more replies from parents/teachers next week - this forum is relatively quiet at weekends, especially when it's sunny like today
When my kids took the test (this goes back a few years as my youngest is now in 8th grade) there was a one-to-one interview where the child had to talk about himself and maybe use some descriptive language to describe a picture or something like that (I think my son had to describe what he could see out of the window). Then there was a "dictation" where one of the teachers describes a scene and the children have to draw it. So they would be expected to know basic vocabulary shapes, colours, things (house, tree, people, animals, body parts?????) and some prepositions of place (top, bottom, next to, above, below, under etc). That is something you can easily practise at home!
my daughter went to the english school grade II pre-school for one year then the she failed the school readiness test for first grade but they did not tell me what they tested and neither did she.
Unfortunately I think it has really little to do with skills (I saw foreign kids with not much English skills but well connected getting their kids accepted.
By the way the level of the teachers in the pre-school was very poor. Teacher are not mother tongue, they change them every year and they do not offer afternoon care to everyone. After one year of troubles with that school I highly recommend you research more before enrolling your kid there.
Clapar, two of the four preschool teachers at that school are native english speakers (australian and american) and one of the assistants is native as well (also american I believe), and the other two that are Finnish both have excellent english. Check your facts before spreading such rumours.
Did you ask what they tested? There are kids that struggle with the program and there are 25 kids in each of those classes. Sometimes a lot of work needs to be done with the child outside of the school to ensure that they are ready to meet the curriculum needs of the child entering first grade. Not all parents are able to do that and not all kids are ready, it's not always a reflection on the teacher. The school offers half day programs in preschool, what makes you think that they should be required to provide after care as well? It's preschool, not grade school.
OP - despite what has been said about it, I can tell you that my experiences with the school and its teachers have been excellent. They keep you well informed on the progress of your children and they will absolutely work with you to help you work with your child at home if you communicate your needs with them. The best thing that you can do is talk with the school about what is required of your child in the first grade in terms of ability and knowledge, so that you will know what to prepare for. They want to make sure that the child doesn't only understand english, but can and is willing to communicate in english. There are a lot of kids who understand more than they are willing to say and they need to be comfortable enough to speak, and that is a big part of what the interview is testing. If you can, try to work with your child on speaking english to friends of yours who the child doesn't know well, to help them get more comfortable with the idea. As said before, work on vocabulary and basic mathematics including patterns, shapes, addition and subtraction. Best of luck.