Junior Group, ages 3-4
The Junior group has up to 21 children between the ages of 3 to 4 years old. The group has children experiencing daycare for the first time, as well as those who have attended the previous year. There are three full-time and one morning half-day teachers.
Even in the Junior group, teachers use only English. Children will learn the language quickly through repeated daily activities. Those activities consist of play, games, laughter, outdoor fun, meals and rest. Weekly we sing, do crafts, and have outdoor time. The Junior group is divided into small groups so that teachers can connect with each child. Social interaction between children often permits those who do not grasp what is being instructed to be informed through translation and modeling by children who do. Teachers allow children to set the example, in order to encourage helping behaviour.
The weekly program promotes a learning theme through the following: Mondays play is emphasised as children can bring a toy from home. Tuesdays the weekly theme is taught in a simple lesson. Wednesdays crafts are made. Thursdays the children make, sing and move to music, and on Fridays a sport activity happens by going to the tunnel gym or outside structured play.
Children do not need to have previous knowledge of English; however, we hope that the child’s own mother tongue (Finnish, English or other), has begun to develop into a talking phase. Children are expected to be potty trained and function without diapers.
Senior Group, ages 4-5
The Senior group has 24 children that are 4-5 years old. Previous Junior and Senior children, along with new individuals to the kindergarten, make up the Senior group. Knowledge of English is not required, but of course is helpful. Just as the Junior group, the Senior group has three full-time teachers and one half-day teacher in the morning. Teachers use only English and help the children develop their understanding and speaking of English. In most activities, the Senior group is split in half so that each child can be taken into consideration. These smaller groups assist with making the environment more learning friendly. Your Senior child’s day will always consist of play, outdoor and indoor learning activities, meals, and rest.
Every month a general theme is established, and each week the theme is focused to a specific topic to aid in the children’s education. Each day of the week have set activities. Mondays is toy day and a time for free play. Tuesdays is a theme focused pre-school day. Crafts are done on Wednesdays. Thursdays the weekly theme is considered through music. Fridays physical activity is promoted through play in the tunnel gym, or at different parks.
Immersion education and care often involves our teachers using body language, picture cards, and other aids to bring about understanding. Children are often asked to translate or show what is being expressed by the teacher in order to promote the act of helping others. Your child will grow and learn through individual and social interaction.
Applying to Tiirismaa English Language Pre-School
Each year most of the children in the Senior group will graduate and begin pre-school education the following year. Traditionally, these Seniors will apply to attend the pre-school at Tiirismaa by taking an aptitude test.
Applicants are not required to speak English at this stage, as the aptitude test is given in Finnish and English. In order to apply for the Tiirismaa controlled aptitude test parents must be Residents of the city of Lahti and children must be turning six years of age during the school year. Applications for the test are accepted by Tiirismaa in the beginning of the year, and the test takes place during the following months. Results are given soon after the completion of the testing. All children turning six must apply to a pre-school, so Lahti English Kindergarten reminds parents to also apply a Finnish pre-school in case their child is not accepted by Tiirismaa.
(Pre-Schoolers and 1st graders)
Our After-School group consists of primarily pre-school and first grade students from Tiirismaa. Onnelantie pre-schoolers and Lotila first graders, who have some English skills, are also welcome depending upon space available. The group size is 26 children cared for by two teachers. Children who have participated in our kindergarten previously receive preferred admittance, yet there usually is enough room to welcome new children.
Pre-schoolers are picked up by a teacher at the end of the school day, as required by law. We offer pick up of first graders, though parents may elect to have their first-grade child walk to the After-School group. Lahti English Kindergarten is always working to have children safely arrive to the After-School group regardless of the means by which a child travels.
The After-School group also uses the method of English language immersion. Teachers always speak English to the children and strongly encourage the children to speak English. Quite often a child with no previous English experience will attend Tiirismaa pre-school and Lahti English Kindergarten After-School group, and when they return for the first grade year their English has strongly developed.
Our After-School Group provides your child with a safe afternoon consisting of various activities with friends. The weekly schedule and activities are customized according to the group schedules. Activities includes time to do homework, do various arts and crafts, and experience music and multi-media. Weather permitting After-School children go outside twice per day.