Language Immersion: How it works
There are several immersion methods used in Finland. Porvoo English Playschool uses early total language immersion. In the early total language immersion method of teaching the child's daily educational experience is carried out entirely in English. Language learning occurs through day to day interaction with teachers and children, and through play, stories, songs, art, sports and other learning activities. Early total language immersion has been shown to not only provide an effective way of teaching another language to a chilld, but also to strengthen the childs overall ability to learn. Children are given the option of speaking Finnish, Swedish or English but are encouraged to demonstrate their English understanding and proficiency. Teachers in a total immersion environment are patient and creative using different 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; that is, to ask, to inform and to express feelings and needs when communicating with their peers or with adults.
The Curriculum and Early Childhood Education
Porvoo English Playschool follows the same educational principles as the other day care providers in Porvoo, but in English. The daily activities planned by our professional teachers are important for language development, but our playschool also provides a safe environment for children where they have the space and possibility to grow and develop socially, physically and emotionally, while building their self-esteem and enjoying learning. Parent teacher conversations are held twice in the year during the Autumn and Spring terms to follow each child's progress.
Language Immersion and the role of 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 when the child is participating in activities where the language used is other than Finnish or Swedish rests with the family. The Finnish and Swedish languages are not being taught in Porvoo English Playschool. It is however important that while the child is learning the second language his native language is being supported at home. Reference material on Finnish or Swedish language development can be obtained from the supervisor upon request.
The School Year
Porvoo English Playschool is open from the beginning of August until Midsummer. We are closed for five weeks during the summer time, and these dates are informed annually. We are closed during Christmas and New Year as well as the winter holiday week. Our curriculum celebrates all the Finnish holidays during the school year, as well as some special English holidays from different English speaking countries. We also honour Christmas and the end of the school term, by having our own Porvoo English Playschool family celebration.