The playschool was founded in 1994, and became a registered playschool and preschool in the beginning of 1997. In the 1990s the world was already becoming a smaller place thanks to the massive developments being made in technology, especially here in Oulu. English skills were key to bringing the rest of the world to Finland and allowing Finns to explore and broaden their own horizons. Out of this, Playschool was born.
We are situated close to the city center in a former army barracks area in an old house built in 1881 and renovated in the 1990s. The environment is ideal for children due to its secluded location surrounded by nature. The house itself is homely and inviting which we hope makes all our new families and children feel welcome.
Our staff are comprised of both native English speaking teachers and Finnish teachers with strong English skills. We don’t work within ‘wards’ instead everyone works in small groups and the children move around between the teachers regularly allowing every child the chance to be with a native speaker of English during the day.
Children can start with us from the age of 3 right up until their preschool year. In Finland children start preschool when they are 6 before moving on to the first grade of comprehensive school. The majority of our children go on to attend Oulu International School after completing preschool with us. We welcome all children who have an interest in English language learning.
Physical activity, music, artistic expression and sustainable development are also essential elements of our day to day lives here at playschool, alongside the language.
Our day begins with free play and breakfast which is served between 7.00-8.30. At 9.00 we all sit down together for registration and from this the children go into their groups. The children are taught in small groups, arranged by age and language ability, over the course of the morning.
Lunch is served at around 11.30 and then the younger children go outside to play while the preschool continues until 13.00. Within the hours of preschool there is one hour of Finnish instruction (äidinkieli), this is for both Finnish and international preschoolers.
After free play outside, everyone has snack at 14.30 which is followed by story groups and, depending on the weather, free play inside or another chance to play in the yard.
The doors close for the day at 17.00.
The curricula of our playschool, for both preschool and early childhood education, are based on the principles of the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Education and drawn up together with Oulu City. We have added our playschool’s unique elements such as multicultural and linguistic focuses. Our aim is to teach children English and to promote opportunities for them to grow, develop and learn. Teaching is based on entities and projects integrating all areas of learning. Teachers encourage creative and critical thinking, exploring and questioning, helping children to make their own conclusions.
Our assessment is based on continuous observations and staff discussion. This ensures that every child leaves playschool with their strengths and abilities acknowledged and the next steps in their learning clearly identified.
Each child is viewed as a valuable member of the learning community as well as an individual learner in their own right. They develop confidence and understanding through practical experience; we provide the structure and support for learning and encourage children to be active thinkers and to develop an appreciation of the need of others as well as their own.
The children have the right to express themselves and their thoughts, deal with their feelings and conflicts and try out and learn new things. We support the children in understanding different values, following a healthy lifestyle, acquiring good manners and developing their emotional skills and sense of beauty. We collaborate with parents on daily basis.
Being a multicultural playschool we emphasise tolerance and diversity. We talk about cultural differences, read about other countries and include in our daily life celebrations of different countries and cultures.
The sustainable lifestyle and its different dimensions are also taken into consideration.