Bilingual kindergarten: advice/recommondations?

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Bilingual kindergarten: advice/recommondations?

Post by tohlw » Thu May 04, 2017 1:43 am

Hi, we're moving to Helsinki shortly (July) as a family: our daughter is 4 years old and we are trying to decide what to do for her kindergarten.

Dad is only English speaking; Mum is bilingual Finnish/English - but daughter speaks almost no Finnish: we've not been bringing her up bilingually, so she knows a few nursery rhymes but not much more.

We're debating whether to just put her into a monolingual Finnish kindergarten (state or private) or whether to look at one of the few bilingual English/Finnish nurseries listed on the Helsinki webpages (we definitely don't want to put her in an English-only kindergarten).

The other consideration is that our daughter has been in a Montessori nursery in the UK and we've been very happy with that approach to childcare - I don't know how the Finnish state nurseries compare.

Does anyone have advice or recommendations? Thanks.

Bilingual kindergarten: advice/recommondations?


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Re: Bilingual kindergarten: advice/recommondations?

Post by Upphew » Thu May 04, 2017 10:47 am

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Re: Bilingual kindergarten: advice/recommondations?

Post by Rip » Thu May 04, 2017 12:02 pm

From your other posts I get the idea that she would at least very possibly be going to school here in about three years time. My hunch would be that a Finnish language day care would be good to achieve sufficient skills before that.

(but no, I do not have relevant experience)

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Re: Bilingual kindergarten: advice/recommondations?

Post by severka » Sat May 13, 2017 4:05 pm

Our kids started state kindergarten at age of 3. At that time they knew maybe 3-5 words in Finnish language. Teachers used a lot of pictures to communicate with them at beginning. After one year they managed basic communication and by school age their language skills were quite on level with Finnish kids.

If you plan longer stay in Finland, then I would recommend monolingual Finnish kindergarten to give your kid good boost in this language and strong bases.

I have heard that kindergartens and schools could be quite different in Helsinki area, so it may take some searching to find one suitable for you. We were lucky to have kindergarten with only one other foreigner (so also the kids had native accent and did not try to communicate in any other language) and great teachers. If you choose bilingual English/Finnish nursery, then kids could communicate with each other also in English and the teaching of the language can be much slower. The communication between kids/friends seems to me to be the main inspiration and help for learning language.

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