No fanfares, no fancy booklets, no cocktail parties for parents, no warm welcomes, no we are thrilled to see yous.
232 § 2017 Admission to the English speaking classes
The principal has decided to admit N.N. to X Primary School based on the results of English language test. If you choose not to accept the place offered, you must contact the school in writing to inform the about your decision. Please be aware that such a cancellation is binding. Minimum entry points xx/yy. Only applicants from Helsinki were admitted.
If you wish to appeal this decision, please see enclosed instruction. (oikaisuvaatimus, perusopetuslaki 42 §)
I guess we do it quite plain here in Finland.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT FINNISH SCHOOL
Where do I start?
Free lunch? Mom, it’s like a buffet, we get to choose what we want and eat as much as we want.
Maths that I understand? No diamond models, no weird jumping lines, just good old methods a non-South-African dinosaur can understand.
Knowing what my child does and when he does what? We’ve got a timetable for the rest of the semester. Yay!
Learning French? A language we can learn together. Although I guess we could have learnt Afrikaans together, too…
Wilma. It’s a web solution combining School Communicator and ClassDojo and School Diary plus more. I’ve heard some parents complain about it but I’m absolutely loving it. Apart from the fact that Talky thinks I’m the one who should know what he has for homework. [there is homework – every day – that no homework in Finland fuss is a myth]
Small classes. There are about (I’m getting a different answer every day) 18 kids in Talky’s class. I do think the normal size is about 25, so we are extremely lucky. It’s weird. It’s so quiet. Nobody chats during the class. Even I don’t chat during the class.
WHAT I’M NOT SURE WITH FINNISH SCHOOL
For the subject Finnish Talky was placed in a normal Finnish class. Meaning he is studying Finnish (grammar) with kids whose school language is Finnish. Whose school language has been Finnish since grade 1, and in most cases Finnish has been the home language since birth. Yet he can’t read or write in Finnish!!! It’s actually pretty funny to interpret his writing. Black hair = musta tukka (in Finnish) = busta tuka (in Talky). I’m in a process of trying to get him into a less advanced class, but will see. They seem to think he would be bored there. My main concern is he’ll end up hating Finnish, which is what is happening now. I love everything in school. But I hate Finnish.
Discipline and respect. Lack of them?
No more Mr Levendal, no more Ms Ricketts. It’s Laura (not her real name). Talky calls his teacher Ms Laura.
Talky was horrified with the first Finnish class: There was one boy running around the class the whole time, and the teacher asked at least 15 times him to sit down. He didn’t and it was a complete chaos. In Kronendal he’d gotten detention or been expelled.
WHAT I LOVE WITH THAT SPECIFIC SCHOOL
One of my biggest fears was that he’ll be surrounded by Finnish world view: there is one truth and only one truth. Seeing his classmates the first day of school year made this fear fly away. He might be the only black child in his class but he definitely is not the only non-Finnish (looking) child. His classmates are not only from Finland but also from China, South Korea, India, UK, US, Australia, Denmark and Spain. So I’m hopeful he’ll continue growing in a diverse environment, and be able enhance and wisely use his super power of getting along with more or less anybody.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
So why doesn’t Talky read or write Finnish, despite the fact he speaks it fluently and understands it nearly almost perfectly? Well, some are bookworms. Some are not. For some parents motivating their child to read in ANY language is a struggle. For some parents there is only so much struggle they can take. I’m one of them.
He’s one of those kids who learn by example. Example set by friends who can. That’s how he learnt how to ride a bike. That’s how he learnt how to swim.
I remain hopeful he’ll be reading and writing Finnish well enough by the time he finishes comprehensive school (grades 1-9). If not – we’ll just blame the genes. If yes – parents will take all the credit.