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English Language Day Care Provision On Rise In Helsinki

Increasing numbers of English language day care centres are opening in Helsinki. There are more international families these days, but Finnish-speaking parents are also keen for their offspring to learn English from an early age.

Lapsi leikkii leluilla
Image: Yle

Helsinki has 16 English-language day care centres. Last year two new ones opened, and two more will open this May in the Tapulikaupunki and Kallio districts.

“Helsinki is becoming more international,” says day care expert Pirjo Verta from the Helsinki City Council. “We have multicultural families, and children who are a bit older but whose parents work in Finland. Then there are the Finnish-speaking families that want their children to learn English as early as possible.”

The number of English language day care centres in the municipalities of Vantaa and Espoo has also increased.

“Yes, yes” is enough at the start

Seven-year-old Ada Calonius attends and English language day care centre in the eastern Helsinki district of Herttoniemi. She speaks Finnish with his friends at the centre, but English with the teacher.

Ada started day care at the age of four. At that stage she did not understand what the teacher said to her.

”I just answered ’yes’ in English and tried to do what the teachers said,” remembers Ada.

Ada’s family is Finnish speaking. Her mother is a little unsure just how well her daughter speaks English.

“She doesn’t want to speak English at home, but we’re told it’s going quite well,” says Ada’s mother Maria Calonius.

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