English speaking children in Finnish mainstream schools..

Family life in Finland from kindergartens, child education, language schooling and everyday life. Share information and experiences. Network with other families.
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Post by ajdias » Tue Oct 07, 2003 1:03 pm

Speaking with a firend, I found that there is someone teaching portuguese - from 7 years old. I'll contact him and I'm going to visit the definitely going to visit Helsinki's "opetus-virasto" one of these days. Thanks, Tom.

Going back to the subject of this thread I found this curious article on last friday's International Edition about swedish speaking schools. Don't really know if you can draw any conclusions from it, here are the most interesting bits:
The problem is worst for certain bilingual families, where the Swedish spoken by one parent is overshadowed by the Finnish spoken by the other.

"Unfortunately there are families who think that the school will make the children bilingual. However, a Swedish-language school is by nature an ethnic school, and not language immersion", she says.

Paradoxically, purely Finnish-language families who send their children to a Swedish-language school usually do not have such problems; Tandfelt says that they have usually made sure that the children have learned sufficient Swedish in a language immersion day care centre, for instance.

Full article @ http://www.helsinki-hs.net/news.asp?id=20031003IE5


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Post by Cory » Sat Oct 11, 2003 11:02 am

"Tom and Jerry" wrote..."It's in the Finnish school law."

Thanks for this tip. It's good to have communication with other families in other areas of the country.

Does anyone know the exact article of Finnish law that was used to receive funding for these specific language "classes" or groups for bilingual kids?

Tom, if you know a parent whose child is involved in the Portugese group, would you kindly forward my name and email or phone number to him/her. I'd like to get more specifics about this. Thanks!


Tom and Jerry

Post by Tom and Jerry » Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:32 pm

Cory wrote: Does anyone know the exact article of Finnish law that was used to receive funding for these specific language "classes" or groups for bilingual kids?
I heard this from the teachers of the school my kids were on, and I never read that law.

It is somewhere in Koululaki 628/1998, but....
forget about the exact law text. This is Finland.

You may request from the school principle the privilege and the possibility of organizing English lessons and you may remind them of the text of the kielilaki. If they are cooperative, they will look this text up for you and help you. If the community doesn't want, bad luck. Mind you, there are ten ways I can think of, to delay for a period of ten years such a request.

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Mainstream Finnish schools

Post by Moo » Mon Oct 13, 2003 6:03 pm

I have 2 kids aged 13 and 11. The older one went to an English-language kindergarten. The younger one didn't. Both have gone to the local neighborhood ala-aste because of the same reasons you mentioned - the logistics to go to the English class were just too much.

They both speak English with me, the only reluctance they've ever shown is some laziness in choosing words. They know I speak Finnish fluently so if they can't remember a word in English, they stick it in in Finnish.

The older one has read English longer, most likely due to the year in kindergarten. Both started formal English classes in the 3rd grade with the rest of their classes.

I'd say it's worked out fine. They really needed the formal training. Although they've been happy to pick up spoken language from me, they've never wanted to do school-type work (reading and writing) with their mom. So they've got that in school.

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Post by Francis » Wed Oct 15, 2003 2:41 pm

I wouldn't worry too much about it. This is Finland and kids start to learn english quite soon after they start school (grade 3 or 4?). Having an english parent will only speed up the process and make them ahead of their class (which is cool!). It's probably better for them socially to be with the "normal" kids anyway.

I think the main thing is to make the kids interested in languages more that focusing on the language itself. My daughter is 5, speaks finnish and english and is totally interested in learning french (and she learned that on the odd weekend since I divorced before she was only 2). Creating a positive attitude towards learning languages is the main thing I think.

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