Classes will be held every other Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm; please see our calendar for exact dates. Instruction focuses on developing the students’ Finnish language comprehension and oral skills. Our older students also practice their Finnish reading and writing skills. Each teacher plans an engaging school day with fun activities to encourage the students practice their Finnish skills in a range of ways. Arts and crafts activities are incorporated into the school day to further increase the children’s understanding and appreciation of the Finnish culture and traditions. Each group gets to visit the school library to take out some Finnish books for home. The school day also includes a break for lunch and recess.

Oravat (3-4 years)

The focus in this age group is learning and practising spoken Finnish, and to enrich the children’s vocabulary in a nurturing atmosphere. During the day we sing songs, read stories, play various musical games and rhymes. We make arts and crafts that reflect the season and Finnish culture.

Book used:
Pyyhittävä Heikun keikun -puuhakirja (Oppi&ilo)

Hanna Seppälä, Teacher
I have been working at Suomikoulu DC since 2013, when my children started at Suomikoulu which brought me to the school. The first year I worked as an assistant teacher and from 2014 onwards I have been a teacher for the youngest age group. I like being with children and enjoy enriching their Finnish language skills through various activities. In my free time I enjoy spending time outdoors, traveling and spending time with my family.

Si­ilit (4-5 years)

Children in this group focus on learning Finnish through songs, rhymes, stories, crafts and games. We also learn Finnish letters and sounds, but the main focus is on learning fluent spoken Finnish and enriching the students’ vocabulary.

Book used:
Pikkumetsän esiopetus (WSOY)

Hanna Metsä, Teacher
Hanna has been teaching at Suomikoulu DC since 2015. She has taught a variety of age groups. Before moving to the U.S. Hanna was a teacher in Finland. In her spare time Hanna loves to spend time at the gym. Also running is her passion. She volunteers at her kids’ school.

Porot  (6-7 years)

Children in this group focus on learning the basics of reading and writing in Finnish. We aim to build a strong foundation of sound, syllable and word-level fluency in both reading and writing. Spoken language and vocabulary are developed through games, rhymes, songs, stories and poetry. We learn about different Finnish celebrations throughout the year and engage in a range of arts and crafts activities.

Books used:
Seikkailujen Aapinen (Otava)
Seikkailujen tehtäväkirja 1, syksy (Otava)

Reetta Lepistö, Head Teacher

Reetta has been teaching around the world since 2005 and at Suomikoulu DC since 2017. For the past five years she has been focusing on early childhood education, and has a day job teaching 3-4-year old children. Reetta has a strong professional interest in early literacy, inquiry based learning, music pedagogy as well as using nature’s resources to support the children’s learning. In her spare time Reetta loves to go for long hikes with her family and dog, Maggie. She has a soft spot for good coffee and a good read and never turns down an invitation to visit a museum or a gallery.

Ketut (7-10 years)

The Fox class is a group of children who speak two or more languages at home and Finnish primary only with one parent. Most children in this class speak Finnish with fluency and know the basics of reading and writing in Finnish. In this class, the emphasis is on developing children’s understanding of spoken Finnish, broadening vocabulary, and deepening Finnish cultural knowledge by having a fun time through games, stories, crafts and play.

Books used:
Apilatien lukukirja ja harjoituskirja (Sanoma Pro)

Mila Layne, Teacher
Mila has taught Finnish earlier in Shanghai, China, and here in Virginia since August 2018.
As an early childhood educator, she firmly believes in play-based learning, collaboration and having a good time. On her free time, Mila loves to travel, swim and read.

Karhut (9-14 years)

Karhut group consists of our oldest students, aged 9 to 14. Students in this group already master spoken Finnish and are also able to read in Finnish fluently. In this class, the emphasis is on broadening the students’ vocabulary, improving their grammatical proficiency as well as accuracy of written text. Karhut group also learns about Finnish culture, traditions and key events in the Finnish history. Art and craft activities are incorporated into each school day.

Books used:
Kulkuri 3 (Sanoma Pro)
Kynäkulkuri 3 harjoituskirja (Sanoma Pro)

Maarit Mustonen, Teacher
Maarit joined Suomikoulu DC in 2019. She is enthusiastic about teaching and is brimming with fresh and engaging ideas to enrich the students’ learning. When she is not teaching at Suomikoulu, Maarit is volunteering at her son’s school and keeping up with her remote work in mentoring. Maarit loves listening to music, dancing and doing different sports. The best way to start a morning is a big latte and a good exercise (not to forget a proper breakfast).