The fun way to become bilingual…

Ankkalampi kindergartens welcome all children whose parents have a desire for them to learn Finnish/English or Swedish/Finnish regardless of their native spoken language.  

Research has shown that children have an innate gift when it comes to learning languages.  We believe this to be particularly true in environments that are fun, supportive, and feel like a home where children are allowed to develop at their own pace.   

The Earlier, the Better
The early childhood years are a critical time for language development.  Children are capable of effortlessly acquiring multiple languages with no awareness that they are doing so.  To children who are open minded, inquisitive, and willing to try new things, languages come easily. The process of learning takes resilience, courage, and the right amount of stubbornness which we all know our children can have.  Of course, this cannot be done without age appropriate activities where children are encouraged to expand their new skills through the support of knowledgeable and carefully selected individuals.  Each child is treated as a unique individual and learner. This is why we strive to provide a wide range of activities from traditional means to current techniques. Though these techniques will vary slightly from unit to unit due to the different specialities and interests of our staff, all units are held to the same standard to ensure that things are done in the Ankkalampi way.

These varied activities also allow us to support a wide range of ages as well as abilities in the languages spoken at the unit.  All languages are treated equally in our bilingual units, whether it is Finnish/English, Finnish/Swedish, or Finnish/Italian they all are held to a high standard where all children are encouraged to learn in the Ankkalampi way.

A Variety of Techniques
There is no real right way to teach a language. There are many techniques that work well for some ages and others that simply won’t work.  Here at Ankkalampi we strive to use the techniques that best support the child’s age, ability level, and personality.  At the early stages of learning this primarily takes place through the Natural Method in which children are taught through everyday experiences while focusing on questions and clear pronunciation.  This is all done in tandem with support from staff who speak their native language and develop the skills that they would need there. For some, the experience would be considered Language Immersion as they come to a safe, comforting place where they are surrounded by the languages at the location.  As our children grow we even partake in Communicative Language Teaching as we talk to them about their daily life and feelings while introducing them to traditional literature in both languages.  Though throughout all these techniques, we refuse to use the traditional method of learning word lists and filling out large textbooks.  After all, where is the fun in that?  

In Ankkalampi we encourage children to dive into a new language through fun experiences. Language best develops in an environment which allows children to learn without pressure where skilled teachers lend a guiding hand to let children learn a new language at their own pace.  

At Home
Life is hard as a parent and we do not encourage or expect ours to sit at home after work and redo lessons with their children.  In preschool, learning is supposed to be carefree and fun as it is gained through activities.  Though we do our want parents to encourage their children as they test their new-found language skills at home.  Despite all this, we cannot stress the importance we place on learning the native language at home so that the two have an opportunity to grow together, aiding the child toward being truly bilingual one day.  We are always happy to help parents support their children’s learning at home through suggestions of games and activities because, after all, learning starts at home.  What we want to offer for your child is the first step on the road to success in a multilingual world.  We offer them a place where they can get to know other cultures, languages, and people of a similar global mindset.  

The Gift of Language
Parents often underestimate their children’s ability to learn and grow, failing to encourage the great potential that all children have.  Children can grow to be anything.  Athletes who play in front of millions, dancers who perform on famous stages, and doctors that make great discoveries all start their passion and learning at a young age.  The same can be said for languages, here at Ankkalampi we seek to inspire children to learn a new language thereby encouraging them to pursue it as a lifetime goal.  In Finnish there is a saying, "Minkä nuorena oppii sen vanhana taitaa" which means, “what you learn when you are young, you known how to do when you are old.” Why not give your child the gift of language? Why not give them something that can truly benefit them for their entire lives? Think about the possibilities and chances a new language can provide for your child, the doors it would open! The possibilities are endless, at least we here at Ankkalampi believe so.