Early Total Language Immersion
There are several immersion methods used in Finland. The immersion method used in the English Kindergarten of Lahti is called Early Total Immersion. In this method the program of the Kindergarten is carried out entirely in English. Language learning occurs through day to day interaction with teachers and children, and through music, plays and stories just to name a few. Children are given the option of speaking Finnish or English but are encouraged to demonstrate their English understanding and proficiency. Teachers in a total immersion environment are patient and creative in their teaching style. They use all available resources to ensure understanding. The object of early total immersion is to encourage the children to use the English language in situations that have personal meaning to them such as communicating with their peers or with adults; i.e. to ask, to inform and to express feelings and needs.
What is expected of the parents?
According to the Early Childhood Education and Care in Finland (ECEC) guidelines, the primary responsibility for retaining and developing the childs own language and culture rests with the family. When the child is participating in activities where the language used is other than Finnish or Swedish, the responsibility for the development of those languages rests on the parents. The Finnish language is not being taught in The English Kindergarten of Lahti. It is however still crucial that while the child is learning the second language his native language is being supported at home. A list of available special resources or reference material on Finnish language development can be obtained from the supervisor upon request.
The English kindergarten of Lahti follows the same educational principals as the other day care providers in Lahti, but only in English. Kindergarten significantly brings up the importance of daily activities with children. Kindergarten wants to provide a safe environment for the children. Environment were they have a freedom and possibility to grow and develop socially, physically and mentally, as well as developing childs self-esteem and positive outlook on life and learning.
Children are placed in groups by age, and each group has scheduled daily and weekly activities, planned by our professional teachers. Some of the activities are done in small groups (8-10 children), and then it is possible to support children individually.
Daily Routines and Weekly Activities
- Daily routines are planned activities, meal times, outdoor play, nap time and free play. These routines are customized to fit the needs of each child and each group.
- Daily planned activities are sports, crafts, music, preschool time, and toy day with personal toys from home.
- We have monthly themes like, me and my family, colors, world animals, etc. Themed activities provide creative means of learning English.
The Kindergarten is open from the beginning of August until end of June. The Kindergarten is closed for five weeks during summer time, the specific dates are informed annually. We are closed during Christmas and New Year as well as winter holiday week 9 (same as Elementary schools in Lahti). We celebrate all the holidays during the school year, as well as most commonly know English holidays. We also celebrate Christmas and the end of the school, by having our own parties for families.