Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlands)

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Maxitt
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Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlands)

Post by Maxitt » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:45 pm

Hi everybody,

I've been looking on this forum and googling like mad to get some info on how Finland supports the transition of non-English speaking children to school and life in Finland.

I am from The Netherlands and my kids (age 6 and 9) speak Dutch only. I am contemplating to accept a job offer from a Finnish company, but I am quite worried about how the kids will adapt as it seems quite tough to learn the language and they don't speak any English. A lot will depend on us and how the school handles the situation.

Any experience people can share would be very welcome.

Thanks, Max



Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlands)

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Rosamunda
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Re: Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlan

Post by Rosamunda » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:03 am

Either /or
There are integration programmes in (some) primary schools for immigrant children. They do intensive Finnish immersion and gradually transition in to mainstream classes. A good solution if you intend to settle here permanently.

There are English-language primary schools in many cities (esp Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa) where your children can follow the Finnish curriculum in English. I am not sure what kind of English Foreign Language support is offered though. These classes are mostly intended for children who already have some proficiency in the language.

So, first, you decide where you are going to live (and how long you are going to stay here).Then you contact the schools in that area directly. If necessary you contact the local education authority for more advice. Each municipality has its own webpages eg www.espoo.fi where you can find information in English. But what's available will largely depend on where you are living.


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AnnikaL
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Re: Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlan

Post by AnnikaL » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:29 am

I yesterday visited a school that my daughter will start in January. She is 9. It is the only school in my municipality that has the integration class. This means she has the right to learn there for up to maximum of 1 year regardless of where we live within the region (as it is only school offering this class in the area - luckily right next to where I work anyway) and then after the year she goes to her local school. As they said to me yesterday... they move whether they are ready or not. Apparently most are, but the class teacher who I spoke to was honest to admit that some are less ready than others. In this case, they still get some extra support.

If we are living in the area after 1 year, she stays at the school but goes into normal classes. The only focus on the integration class is their Finnish learning, nothing else. All children will be in same boat, most won't have any common language other than Finnish as they come from all over, so this supports learning.

Not speaking any English won't be an issue at all, they are used to this.

The school was lovely, children in the class looked happy, teacher and head very willing to answer a multitude of questions. I personally have no concern.

Hope this helps.
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rinso
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Re: Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlan

Post by rinso » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:56 am

We were in a similar situation only there was no school with an integration program nearby.
Our kids did fine and picked up the language quickly. As long as they can mingle with other kids they'll be fine.


stadinslangi
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Re: Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlan

Post by stadinslangi » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:18 pm

There is German school in Helsinki. So I guess your kids can go there. Actually many Finnish parents putting their kids to German school because the quality of the program is high and teachers are very steady and nice.
Then there is Espoo International school. Interesting enough, many teachers and staff are from Netherland :D
Other options are integration program or so. But it is really depends on your plan on staying in Finland for permanent base. Otherwise better to choose IB program so to facilitate your international journey.
I am not sure if you had heard about the "Third Culture Kids" or the Triangle concept. I feel strange why people here are not talking about it. Kids grow up in the culture outside his/her born place or neither their parents culture is getting more and more nowadays. In TCK or Triangle groups, there are a lot of self-support and peer support, also theory developed. So I believe it will help you and your family to survive current relocation.


Maxitt
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Re: Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlan

Post by Maxitt » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:25 am

Thanks for sharing your experience and the information. It is definitely good to hear that there are good support programs.

In general I understand we should keep in mind that the kids will lose a school-year due to studying Finnish.

Funny and interesting fact about Espoo IS Stadinslangi :D
Didn't know that and we were indeed interested to register my kids there as it does seem Espoo might suit us better (cost wise :? ). I did call them several times to get information and the headmistress sounds like a nice person.

Regarding TCK it is a worry I am taking along. It is surprising that people do not talk about it more. I myself grew up in another country and it does add psychological strain to their development. It is a worry and we are contemplating to move back after a few years so they have their high school period in the Netherlands. Just wondering though if they would be able to re-integrate into normal Dutch schools or we have to stay with international schools. :ohno:


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AnnikaL
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Re: Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlan

Post by AnnikaL » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:04 pm

I think a lot of these considerations really depend on what you personally think of as 'education'. Is it the specific facts that children are bombarded with, or is it the process they go through of learning how to think with available information? Is it important that they achieve A grades, or that they are well-rounded, easily adapt to new circumstances and are interested in learning? Much depends on childrens' natural talents and amibitions, too. Not easy decisions to make, for sure, though.
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Rosamunda
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Re: Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlan

Post by Rosamunda » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:57 pm

Maxitt wrote:T
In general I understand we should keep in mind that the kids will lose a school-year due to studying Finnish.
No, only if they go into mainstream Finnish schools through the immigrant integration programs. If you put them into Espoo international school, they will only do the compulsory 4 lessons of Finnish Second language per week, while the other kids do Finnish mother tongue.

Worth noting: Your children will qualify for Dutch mother tongue lessons (only 2h per week) which is organised by the local municipality. You just need to fill in a special form for this. It is possible that they will have to travel to a different location for these lessons but the teachers do try to accommodate everybody who qualifies.

It is quite possible that the move back to the Netherlands would be more problematic than the move here! But that is something you can prepare for. I would guess that your children would have better than average language skills by the time you leave, but I've heard some children are below par in maths... I guess it depends on many different factors.


biscayne
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Re: Adaptation of children to school/country (from Netherlan

Post by biscayne » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:39 pm

If your kids do not speak any English, than putting them in the English language school or International school is not anymore useful than putting them in the Finnish language school system - they will pick up Finnish, just as they would need to pick up English if you put them in an international school.

The way I would look at it is this - It really depends on whether you stay in Finland or not.

If you plan to stay in Finland, or think you might stay, then by putting the kids in the Finnish school they will learn more or less perfect Finnish and become completely integrated into Finland and to the local area they live in. They will have Finnish friends and will completely "fit in". At their young ages picking up the language usually is not a big issue. As you can't have them fully educated in Dutch here, they need to learn a new language anyway. Is it Finnish or English? That is the decision.

If you think you are likely to go back to the Netherlands, English language schooling might be better. They will need English all their lives anyway, and they could even go to a Dutch International school when they go back, where they would probably fit right in. They can do the IB which is good for all Dutch Universities too. If they go back with Finnish, it might be harder for them to make the transition.


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