LANGUAGE IMMERSION KINDERGARTEN ESPOON KIELIKYLPYPÄIVÄKOTI
At Espoon kielikylpy kindergarten we aim to help children to grow in a safe and calm environment supported by trustworthy adults. Learning Swedish is the cornerstone for all activities in the kindergarten. In the language immersion groups the early childhood education and preschooling programs are carried out using the language immersion techniques and didactics. Our daycare personnel have double roles acting as educators as well as language teachers at the same time.
For learning and building trust, routines are extremely important. When starting their daycare journey, the children will use Finnish with the personnel as well as with each other. Once the language skills improve the children are encouraged to use immersion language more and more. Teachers and instructors use their bodies, for example their facial expressions and voice to illustrate meanings and support the learning of the new language.
Language immersion is a voluntary method through which child learns a new language. The objective of the method is for a child to become functionally multilingual. Even though the personnel understand Finnish, only Swedish is used during day care and preschool. Consistency is very important when a child learns a new language through language immersion method. Once a child reaches age 3, he/she can start the language immersion provided that the child's mother tongue has developed according to his/her age. All children are encouraged to use the immersion language when they start their language immersion. Language immersion curriculum follows the national schooling curriculum and its requirements.
Once a child has reached school age, the proportion of their mother tongue (Finnish) gradually increases in their school curriculum. Other languages are also taught in school according to the national schooling curriculum.
LANGUAGE THAT IS UNDERSTANDABLE
In order for the children to learn the immersion language, the best suited communication style for their age is selected. In our kindergarten we use for example drama, gestures, facial expressions as well as intonation. Themes and contents for activity moments are also chosen according to the children's age and skills, also taking into account the time the child has been participating in language immersion.
Routines and predictability are the most important part of the language immersion method. Personnel use only the immersion language when communicating with the children but when interacting with parents, they use Finnish. For the children this demonstrates that personnel understand their mother tongue and creates trust.
EARLY LANGUAGE IMMERSION PAYS OFF
During kindergarten years children are at an age where they can learn a new language very easily and in a natural way. Language immersion has proven to be a very effective way to learn a new language. In the beginning children use Finnish with the personnel and with each other but once language skills improve, the children are encouraged to use the immersion language more and more.
BENEFITS OF LANGUAGE IMMERSION
- The same level of development in their mother tongue compared to a monolingual child
- Better readiness to learn new languages compared to a child who has received only regular language education
- More aware of language's nuances than a monolingual child
- More open-minded towards other languages and cultures
LANGUAGE IMMERSION HISTORY AND RESEARCH
Language immersion has its origin in Canada where it was developed. The first language immersion programs started in the 1960's. Language immersion came to Europe first through Finland and Spain. Nowadays many countries in Europe use language immersion methods in some form.
In Finland, the first language immersion group started in Vaasa in 1987. Currently language immersion method is used in many cities, including Porvoo, Espoo, Helsinki, Hyvinkää, Pietarsaari, Kokkola, Kirkkonummi, Sipoo and Turku. Language immersion method has been researched in University of Vaasa for many years and it is also available for university level studies there.
If you want to learn more about our kindergarten or have any questions related to the application process, please contact kindergarten director Carola Wasén:
phone: +358 9 455 0521