Suomikoulu DC’s main focus is to help maintain and further develop Finnish language skills, and to keep up cultural heritage among children and youth who have a Finnish background or connection.
The main objective of Suomikoulu DC is to support language development, with a focus on spoken language. Reading and writing skills will be supported and taught based on students’ readiness. One of the key elements is to learn more about the cultural heritage of Finland. The goal is to create positive interest in the Finnish language and culture.
The school is held every other Saturday, starting in mid-September and ending in mid-June. The morning lessons focus on language skills, and the afternoon electives offer more insight into the culture through arts, crafts, music, and games. The electives provide students an opportunity to increase their vocabulary and terminology in Finnish, as well as to practice listening and comprehension skills.
Below you will find our school’s curriculum for students who speak Finnish before coming to the school. The curriculum for children with very little or no previous knowledge of Finnish is the same in regards to cultural objectives, but differs in linguistic goals. The goals for students with no previous Finnish skills can be found under the respective class descriptions.
3 -5 year olds
Most of the learning takes place through stories, music, games, and crafts. The Finnish alphabet and letter sounds are introduced, but the main objective is to support the students’ oral language skills and to enrich the students’ Finnish vocabulary.
Children’s stories and characters like Moomins are used to enhance knowledge about the Finnish culture and cultural habits. Finland’s national holidays and related traditions are introduced and explored.
6 – 7 year olds
The main objectives are good communication and interpersonal skills as well as correct pronunciation. These skills are practiced in every day greetings, through exchanging news, and in role play.
The Finnish alphabet and letter sounds are studied. The students explore words by recognizing beginning and end sounds, and by forming and counting syllables. Reading and writing skills are supported based on the individual student’s readiness.
Awareness of the main Finnish celebrations and traditions is strengthened. Finnish products and concepts like Moomins, Santa Claus, and sauna as well as traditional Finnish sports – skiing, ice skating, and baseball – are explored.
8 – 9 year olds
The emphasis is on communication and interpersonal skills. The goal is to hear each student speak Finnish every school day. Teaching methods favor collective methods, with an example goal being e-mail or Skype communication between the students and relatives in Finland.
- understanding of everyday vocabulary
- following and participating in class discussions
- basic reading and writing skills
- reading comprehension (main idea, answering simple questions)
- recognition of letter sounds (single and double, long and short)
- compound words
- figuring out the meaning of an unfamiliar word from the context
- able to name and tell something about Finnish celebrations and traditions
- knowledge of Finnish children and youth literature, movies and music
- finding Finland on a map and pointing out important or interesting places
10+ year olds
The emphasis is on general comprehension and conversation skills. Projects allow deeper study of vocabulary and concepts of different themes.
- able to communicate in everyday situations
- deepening of reading comprehension skills
- practicing sentence and short story writing. Written text might have grammatical errors, but should be understandable.
- introduction of the most common lexical categories and grammatical cases
- becoming familiar with Finnish nature and geography
- understanding of Finnish celebrations and traditions
- getting to know Finland’s history as well as present day events