QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
We have compiled answers to the questions that families ask us. We hope you will also find answers to your questions in this section. Please contact us if you still have any questions! We will be happy to answer them.
APPLYING FOR A KINDERGARTEN AND GETTING READY FOR A LANGUAGE KINDERGARTEN
Q: How to apply to your kindergarten?
A: You can find comprehensive information on how to apply to our kindergarten here.
Q: Is applying a commitment to accept a place?
A: Applying does not commit you to accept a place, but gives the family time to get to know us and then make a decision. It is best to send in your application as early as possible so that we know your family is interested in a place with us and we can offer you a suitable place.
Q: When will I know if my child can get a place with you?
A: If a family has applied for a place from the beginning of the next new term in August, we will notify the family of the place by March at the latest. If there are unfilled places or places become available mid-season, we can decide to fill a vacant kindergarten place in as little as a few days. In this case, the child must be on our register of applicants. (See question above: How to apply to your kindergarten.)
Q: On what basis do children get a place in the kindergarten?
A: Children are selected based on the date of application, the child's language skills, and the child's age. Siblings of children already in our kindergarten have priority in filling places in the kindergarten.
is for children aged 3-6 years, so your child must be 3 years old or will be 3
years old in the next few months when they start kindergarten. We must have a
common language with your child; either Finnish or English. For this reason, we
assess the child's age-related language development (Finnish/English) before
confirming a place in the kindergarten. A child starting pre-school must also
have some knowledge of English. The group size of our kindergarten affects the
age range of the children we can offer a place to. Generally, it is easiest to
get a place at 3 and 4 years old, but sometimes places become available in
Q: Do children need to know English when they start kindergarten?
A: Age-appropriate Finnish or English language skills are a prerequisite for successful early childhood education in a language immersion kindergarten. It is not necessary for a 3 to 5-year-old starting in early childhood education to know English. A child starting pre-school (6-year-old) should have a sufficient level of English to be able to follow instructions in English and express him/herself in English at an age-appropriate level. The child's suitability for the language (Finnish or English) is assessed together with the family before the child starts kindergarten.
Q: Can children whose native language is not Finnish apply?
A: Yes, in addition to Finnish-speaking children, children whose English language skills have developed at an age-appropriate level can apply to our kindergarten.
PRICES FOR PLACES IN THE KINDERGARTEN
Q: How much are your kindergarten fees?
A: You can find the current prices of our kindergarten places here. Families attending our kindergarten are eligible for a wide range of subsidies. The co-payment that a family has to pay depends on the subsidies they receive.
Q: What is covered by the kindergarten fee?
A: The kindergarten fee covers everything related to the activities of the kindergarten, including supplies, meals and excursions. The only separate cost is the optional Juvenalia music kindergarten classes, which are held weekly at both of our kindergarten facilities. For this, Juvenalia charges the participating families on a seasonal basis. Each year in around May-June, the Kindergarten Association's Board of Directors (i.e. parents) set the prices for kindergarten places for the next new term, which starts in August.
Q: Do you offer a sibling discount?
A: In addition to the Kela subsidies, Espoo grants a sibling allowance for private childcare to families with at least two children in early childhood education or pre-school education. To receive the sibling allowance, the children in the family do not have to attend the same kindergarten. The family applies to the City of Espoo using a separate form. Read more on the City of Espoo website.
Q: Why is a kindergarten place fee charged for the month of July when the kindergarten is closed?
A: Our kindergarten is run with the funds collected by the association in the form of kindergarten place fees, which are used to pay the running costs of the kindergarten; such as the rent for the premises, also in July. All the association's funds are used to run the kindergarten to a high standard.
Q: Do you use a service voucher?
A: We do not use a service voucher. According to our board's assessment, we cannot provide quality early childhood education and pre-school services under the conditions to which voucher kindergartens must commit. We do not want to give up the benefits we give to our staff to ensure excellent job satisfaction and commitment. We believe that staff motivation is one of the most important factors in providing a good environment for children to grow and learn.
Q: What kind of daily rhythm do you have?
Q: Are your kindergartens similar?
A: In both of our kindergartens we share common values and follow the same general policies and early childhood education and care plans. There may be small differences, for example, in the types of outings we organize. Each teacher and care worker also has their own individual way of delivering early childhood education and care, and we encourage them to do so.
Q: What kind of playgrounds do your kindergartens have?
Q: What kind of curriculum do you have in place?
A: We offer both early childhood education (3 to 5 years old) and pre-school education (6 years old). Our early childhood education is guided by the City of Espoo's Early Childhood Education Plan. Similarly, our pre-school curriculum is based on the City of Espoo's pre-school curriculum.
In addition, we have child and group-specific plans for both early childhood education and pre-school education. The group plans are based on the needs, interests and skills of the children in the group. Each child is involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of activities according to his or her own abilities. Child-specific plans are drawn up in collaboration with the guardians during the early childhood education (VASU) and pre-school education (LEOPS) meetings.
of learning in early childhood education and pre-school education are the rich
world of languages, the many forms of expression, me and our community,
exploring and acting in my environment, and growing, moving and developing. In
addition, pre-school education includes a Finnish language lesson once a week.
Q: Who supervises private kindergartens?
A: The Regional State Administrative Agencies and Valvira supervise early childhood education in the public and private sectors. The City of Espoo also supervises early childhood education services in the private sector. At least once a year, the City's early childhood education expert visits a private kindergarten. During the visit, the expert checks that the kindergarten is operating following the laws and regulations that govern it and that the early childhood education and pre-school education we provide are in line with the curriculum in force.
Q: How many children and educational staff do you have?
A: We have a maximum of 30 children in each of our two kindergartens. We have 5 responsible educators in both kindergartens. Three of these are early childhood teachers and two are early childhood kindergarten carers. In addition to the kindergarten teachers, there is also a kindergarten assistant at both sites.
Q: Do your staff understand Finnish?
A: Both sites have staff who speak Finnish as their mother tongue. Even the non-native Finnish speaking teachers and carers understand and speak Finnish at least to a certain extent, most of them very fluently. So even if a child does not yet speak English, he or she will be understood in our kindergartens in Finnish. At the beginning of language immersion, the staff complement their speech with expressions and gestures. Families can communicate with us in Finnish or English.
Q: What is language immersion pedagogy?
A: We provide partial early language immersion in English. In language immersion, language is acquired through practical experience by using language in all activities in the same way as the native language. A characteristic of language immersion is that language is used as a tool for learning, not as the object or goal. Read our website for a more detailed description of language immersion pedagogy.
Q: How should families support their child's language development?
A: The role of the family in supporting the child's native language is important. To ensure the development of the native language, guardians should pay attention at home to talking, reading and singing with the child in the native language. Especially at the beginning of language immersion, children may need an adult whose speech they can understand, and this is where family support is invaluable.
Q: Do you include excursions in your programme?
A: An important part of our activities is to organize regular parties and outings outside the kindergarten. Outings and parties broaden and diversify the children's learning environments. The central location of our kindergartens makes it possible to organize excursions around the capital region.
Our destinations have included museums in the capital region (National Museum, Kiasma, Museum of Zoology and Botany, EMMA, Talomuseo Glims), Heureka, Fazer, theatres (Espoo City Theatre, National Theatre, Helsinki City Theatre, travelling theatre performances), libraries and the children's cultural centre Aurora. For pre-school children, we have organised a swimming school in the Leppävaara swimming pool several times this spring.
We also have weekly gym sessions and offer the opportunity to take part in the weekly Juvenalia kindergarten music class in our kindergarten, led by a music teacher. Let's not forget the wonderful forest and nature nearby, where we spend a lot of time during the day.
In addition to excursions, our everyday life is enriched by parties. We celebrate Finnish, as well as family and work cultures. We celebrate holidays and children's birthdays together with all the groups. Halloween, for example, is one of the children's favourites every year. Guardians also have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas, Spring Festival and Mother's and Father's Day with us.
kindergarten's secure messaging app, families can share their moments of joy
with us in pictures and videos. Families can also get involved in planning
outings and celebrations, such as introducing us to different possibilities.
For example, we organised a remote reflection workshop based on the active
involvement of one of the parents.
Q: Where does your food come from?
A: Our lunch comes from Amica. Breakfast, lunch salad and snacks are prepared in the kindergarten.
Q: My child has allergies, can you accommodate these at the kindergarten?
A: We take into account your child's allergies, as well as dietary restrictions for ethical or religious reasons.
Q: How does communication between families and the kindergarten work?
A: We use the secure TinyApp communication app. It is free for families. Through TinyApp, we regularly send updates, pictures and videos about your child's day and other important issues. Families can send messages and photos to the kindergarten through the app. Information about your child's holidays and sick days also goes through the app. Guardians can communicate with us in Finnish or English.
Q: Do I have to notify you if I pick up/pick up my child at a different time than usual?
A: We would like families to let us know if they are dropping off/picking up their children at times other than normal. This way, we can be prepared if, for example, your child has not just gone to rest, started a guided activity, or gone on a trip to a nearby forest. If a child is brought to the kindergarten very late in the morning and we don't know about it, he or she may miss the outing.
We should also be informed if a child is picked up by a child's backup, or if the child leaves the kindergarten to go home with the family of a kindergarten friend. We will not release the child to anyone other than the guardian unless we have received notification from the guardian. All messages can be sent via our messaging app.
Q: How do I deal with a child pick-up situation?
A: When picking up children while in the yard, it is important to keep a few things in mind to help make the situation safe for the child.
- A guardian or staff member will open the gate for the child and the child should not open the gate by themselves to run to the guardian. The child may only leave the yard through the gate.
- When the guardian is talking to the staff or picking up the child's belongings from the kindergarten, the child will wait in the kindergarten yard.
- If the guardian picks up the child at the gate, he/she must make sure that at least one of the staff has noticed the child's pick-up situation.
- It is also our strong wish that guardians are not on the phone when the child is being picked up. We may have important things to tell you, and it is also important for the child to have your undivided attention after a long day at kindergarten.
Q: Do you have a formal pre-school in your kindergarten?
A: We are the official pre-school education unit of the City of Espoo. We offer formal pre-school education in both of our kindergartens. We have years of experience in providing high-quality pre-school education.
Q: How do you apply to your pre-school? Can someone come to your pre-school even if they have not attended your kindergarten?
A: You can apply to our pre-school through the official pre-school application form of the City of Espoo. You can apply for a pre-school place with us even if your child has not yet attended our early childhood education centre. A child who is in early childhood education with us and continues to attend our pre-school must also apply for a pre-school place through the official pre-school application of the City of Espoo. Find out how to apply for pre-school education with us.
Q: Do all your children go to a bilingual/English school after pre-school?
A: Some of our children will pursue bilingual or English-language education. Some of our children start in Finnish primary education. This is the choice of each family.
STARTING AT THE KINDERGARTEN
Q: What should you consider before your child starts kindergarten?
Q: Can you start under the age of 3?
A: Our facilities and staffing are designed for children over the age of 3. However, if necessary, we can be flexible with the starting age of a few months. Please contact us and let us know what your family's needs are and we will try to find a solution that fits.
You can send the kindergarten application at any time, and we recommend that you do so as early as possible.
Q: Do you have access to a half-day place?
A: In general, our early childhood education places are full-time, but if necessary, for example, if the family situation changes (e.g. a parent goes on childcare leave or becomes unemployed); we can arrange part-time early childhood education. The fee for a part-time place is 80% of the normal kindergarten fee paid by the family. Part-time childcare must be agreed upon well in advance.
In general, we recommend full-time early childhood education to strengthen your child's English language and other development. Naturally, part-time attendance means that the child will miss out on some of the activities of the kindergarten and may find it more challenging to socialise than children who are in the kindergarten full-time. When starting kindergarten, some families have shorter days for the first couple of weeks and then continue full-time. Each family can always choose to pick up their child earlier from kindergarten and take extra days off, but these do not affect the kindergarten fees.
A child in
pre-school education cannot attend part-time (e.g. 4 days a week), as pre-school
education is compulsory and is provided for 4 hours every weekday. Furthermore,
we do not recommend that a child of pre-school age should attend kindergarten
on a part-time basis. Although the formal pre-school education itself takes
place in the morning, we also do a lot of pre-school related activities and
activities in the afternoons with the pre-schoolers. Often in the afternoons,
we continue the activities that started in the morning.
Q: I live in Kauniainen, can my child start in your kindergarten?
Q: Can I start kindergarten in the middle of the school year?
A: You can also start at our kindergarten in the middle of the school term. However, we cannot guarantee that a suitable place will be available in the middle of the term, as we aim to fill places in the kindergarten by the start of the new school year (August). Places sometimes become available in the middle of the term as our families' situations change. You can contact us to inquire about vacancies, or send us a kindergarten application and we will be in touch. It is also worth following our social media accounts, where we might post any vacancies.
Q: If my child starts at the Karakallio kindergarten, will he/she be able to change to the Kilonpuisto kindergarten if the family is moving to Kilonpuisto, for example? (And vice versa.)
A: In principle, the child has the possibility to change from one of our kindergartens to another if, for example, a place becomes available in a kindergarten that is more suitable for the family. However, often in such situations, the family decides to keep the child in the current kindergarten. The child may already have become attached to the kindergarten, grouped together, formed important friendships, and got to know the staff and the kindergarten staff have got to know him or her. Of course, we are always happy to talk to your family and try to work together to find the best solution.
PRIVATE KINDERGARTEN ASSOCIATION
Q: What does it mean that the kindergarten is run by a parent support association?
A: Our kindergarten is run by an association whose members are all parents of children attending the kindergarten. The fee for a place in the kindergarten is also a membership fee of the association. This allows parents to influence the activities of the association by becoming a member of the board, or for example by giving tips on excursions or other activities directly to the kindergarten staff. Read more about the activities and purpose of our association.
Q: What does it mean to be a non-profit kindergarten?
A: The association is non-profit, meaning that all funds are used to provide quality early childhood education and pre-school education. This means that we do not use the funds for any other purpose or make a separate profit from our activities.
Q: What is the difference between a private and a municipal kindergarten?
A: Municipal and private kindergartens share the same national objectives for early childhood education and care and the same indicators of quality, such as staffing levels and staff qualifications. On both the private and the municipal side, kindergarten activities are governed by the Basic Education Act for early childhood education and pre-school education.
The municipality monitors the quality of private early childhood education and care in the same way as it monitors municipal early childhood education and care. In practice, this takes the form of regular monitoring visits to our kindergartens by an early childhood education expert from the City of Espoo. We have also drawn up a self-monitoring plan based on the instructions of Valvira, which we update annually. The plan is available in the lobby of our kindergartens.
are able to decide on their fees, weightings and child choices. Often, private
kindergartens are smaller than municipal ones, which means that the number of
places for children is more modest.