- Ministry of Education and Culture: Varhennetusta kieltenopetuksesta usein kysyttyjä kysymyksiä (in Finnish)
- Kielten opiskelu alkaa jo 1.-luokalla (pdf) (in Finnish)
- Kielitietoisesti kouluissa -hanke (in Finnish)
- Get to know Language Integrated Learning in Turku Kieliluokat.fi/en
All the pupils of the 1st grade in Turku will start learning an A1 Language at the very beginning of the school year 2019–20. In the Finnish basic education the A1 Language is generally English, and it is studied for an hour per week. The A1 Language can have a fixed lesson in the timetable or language teaching can be carried out as several short teaching episodes during the week. In foreign language classes the early start of language studies will take place according to the language curriculum.
Inspiring and child-based language education
The early A1 language will be learnt by means of games and play, taking account of a child’s age. The purpose is not to teach the pupils in the first grade to read or write in a foreign language but the focus in language studies is on oral language skills and language education.
Class Teacher at Luostarivuori School Sanna Sova has coordinated the two-year project Kielitietoisesti kouluissa (“Language awareness in schools”) of early language education. In Turku and Raisio the early language education has been tested in 14 schools and in seven early education units with good experiences. Sanna is confidently looking forward to the reform.
– The experiments in the early language education project have resulted in almost exclusively positive experiences. Small children are enthusiastic and quick to learn things! They often have good self-confidence and they immediately start to use a new language. Teaching must be arranged so that pupils have lots of opportunities to use the language though they would not yet know much about it. Many games and play precisely encourage to this.
Pupils at primary education age are interested in languages and like to compare the differences and similarities between languages.
– The reform is great in the aspect that all pupils equally begin language studies now despite the place of residence or the school!
Further training for teachers
Further training has been arranged for teachers in language teaching for small children already during the project, and there are positive attitudes towards the reform.
– It must be remembered to support teachers in the implementation of the language pedagogy according to the curriculum also next school year, Sanna points out.
A meeting in autumn is being planned for all the parents of the pupils in the 1st grade. At the transition stage the reform of language education will not concern next year’s pupils in the 2nd grade who will not start language studies until the 3rd grade.