Ethos & objectives
We like to think of ourselves as a friendly and happy nursery where our children and parents are made to feel welcome and relaxed.
The purpose of the Nursery is to provide pre-school education prior to the children’s entry into the Primary section of the school. The nursery curriculum is play-based and the aim is to prepare the children for the formal curriculum that they will follow in the Primary cycle.
The Nursery cycle of the European Schooling Helsinki usually begins in the autumn of the year when the child turns four years of age. From the Nursery there is an automatic transfer to the Primary if the requirements for this transition are met.
Early Education is a fundamental part of life-long learning and its central role is to support children’s growth into ethical and responsible members of society. Teaching and learning in the early years supports and monitors children’s physical, psychological, social, cognitive and emotional development by providing the best possible opportunities, experiences and learning environment.
Teaching and learning in the early years is holistic and different areas of development are not separated. Its core emphasis is very much upon learning through play and upon encouraging exploration and experimentation – in other words, a focus on the practical and “hands-on“ active learning that is so appropriate and meaningful to young children.
Our three parallel classes in the Nursery (English, French and Finnish speaking) follow the Early Education Curriculum used in all the European Schools. It consists of four main areas, Me and my body, Me as a person, Me and the others and Me and the world. The Curriculum recognises that each child will develop at his/her own pace and thus we treat all our nursery children as individuals.
Because of our school's location in the heart of Helsinki, we are able to visit many places throughout the year. We often visit the nearby parks, library, museums and theatres and try to take advantage of the wide range of opportunities that Helsinki has to offer. The teachers organise events that connect the lives of the children to events in society, in the past we have participated in Week Against Hunger, Green Flag activities and Santa Lucia Day etc.
Nursery hours are from 08.15 – 14.30 hours. If parents so wish, children can be left at the nursery unit from 08.00 onwards, where supervision by a member of staff will be available until classes begin at 08.15.
It is important that children arrive promptly to begin the day with their teacher. All children are supposed to start with full-time hours at nursery. If this seems to be too much, the child can have one ‘day-off’ a week which preferably should be Monday, Wednesday or Friday. It is also possible that during the settling-in time (from August to October holiday), there can be a few days a week with mornings-only. For these absences we cannot grant any reduction of the school fees. If you think that adjusting to a full-day of nursery would be too demanding for your child we would suggest that you consider postponing his/her enrolment into our school for one year.
The school provides an after-care facility which the nursery children can participate in. It includes a range of activities and operates until 5.30pm, Monday- Friday. These activities are subject to an additional fee.
Nursery has the same holidays as the rest of the school. These are as follows: one week for autumn mid-term, two to three weeks for Christmas, one week in February, one week for Easter and the summer holidays from the beginning of June to the middle of August.
The nursery is a multi-linguistic and multi-cultural environment with three language sections. The nursery classes have joint events and they work together on specific projects and also take part in many events within the school. We aim to provide a smooth transition for our pre-schoolers into their new Primary 1 classes. With that in mind there is frequent collaboration between the nursery and primary classes.
Staff and pupil welfare
There is a qualified native speaking Teacher and a Nursery Assistant in each nursery class. The school has a Special Education Teacher and a School Psychologist who are available to help in the nursery classes when necessary. There is also a School Nurse who offers yearly check-ups for those nursery children who are not part of the Finnish Health Care System (KELA).
The Pupil Welfare Group of the school meets several times during the year to discuss individual pupils and assess whether some form of extra support might be needed.
We very much welcome the support and involvement of our parents in the life of the nursery and hope to enter into a supportive and beneficial partnership between home and school where the child is always priority. Whether it is sharing special items, photographs from home or coming in to talk to the children about an interest, hobby or job, we are always delighted to have the invaluable help of our parents and carers!
There is an ongoing informal exchange of information between parents and nursery staff on a daily basis when appropriate, so that any difficulties can be addressed and achievements recognised. Written reports on the children’s progress will be issued towards the end of the autumn and spring terms. There will also be the opportunity to discuss your child’s progress at the individual Parent Conferences that take place twice a year. Parents are, of course, welcome to discuss any areas of concern with the nursery staff at other times as well.