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Early childhood education for children of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds

The City of Vaasa’s multicultural early childhood education is based on the general educational goals of early childhood education.

Children are treated equally and met on an equal footing, respecting diversity and supporting cultural difference.

Early childhood education and preschool education support the integration of children of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The child’s Finnish language learning and language development will be strengthened. In addition, the learning of the child’s mother tongue and culture is supported.

Finnish as a second language (= S2) - teaching in early childhood education and preschool education

Language is a tool for thinking, interacting and learning. In early childhood education and preschool education, Finnish is taught daily in different language use situations. Children of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds are offered the opportunity to practise and learn Finnish. The child’s Finnish language skills are regularly observed, mapped, evaluated and documented.

Teaching Finnish as a Second Language (= S2)

For those learning Finnish as a second language, Finnish is both a target language and a medium of learning. Language learning is defined, for example, by the learning method, learning environment and the importance of the language. A second language, i.e. the target language, is learned from the mother tongue, so a strong command of one’s mother tongue is important for the learner. Knowledge of the mother tongue gives the child a better ability to learn a new language.

The goal for the child is to:

  • learn to understand and speak Finnish
  • become an active language user
  • achieve practical multilingualism skills.

For children with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, the basis for teaching is built upon a good knowledge of both the Finnish language as well as their own mother tongue.

Teacher of Early Childhood Education S2 (Finnish as a Second Language)

 The S2 teacher in early childhood education acts as an expert in Finnish as a second language. The work involves assessing the Finnish language proficiency of children from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, as well as providing guidance and training for early childhood education staff. The S2 teacher is responsible for the individual and small group guidance of language learners. In addition, the S2 teacher participates in the planning and development of S2 education in early childhood education and preschool.

  • S2 – teacher Mariann Karlsson-Pasto, tel. 040 829 6303,                                                                     email:
  • S2 – teacher Jaana Korpi, tel. 040 1904 513,                                                                                           email: firstname.lastname

Preparatory education

The Preparatory education at the City of Vaasa follows the objectives of the city’s preschool curriculum as well as the national preschool curriculum. Preschool education lasts for one academic year. The teaching is aimed at six-year-old children of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds who still have deficiencies in their Finnish language skills.

The group of children in preparatory education is a part of the daycare preschool. Children work both in their own small group and integrate with their other preschool group. The Finnish language is taught daily, intensified in different language use situations, in small groups as well as in the whole group. The individual linguistic needs of each child are taken into consideration. In addition, where possible, children are offered their own mother tongue instruction.

Preparatory education aims to ensure that children of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds have equal access to schooling when compared to native-born children. The aim is that after completing preparatory education, the child starts school in general education.

During the academic year 2019-2020, preparatory education will be provided by Esikko daycare, Inkeripuisto daycare, Isolahti daycare, Metsäkallio daycare Ristinummi daycare and Teeriniemi daycare.