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Finnish American Kindergarten

Page history last edited by N0424265@ntu.ac.uk 9 years, 2 months ago


Partner institution: Finnish American Kindergarten 

Website: http://www.finnamkindergarten.com/


Contributors (2015):

Polly Riley



Placement Information

Accomodation and Location


Social Life and Places To Visit

Advice and Tips

Useful Contacts

Before You Go




Placement Information

Finnish American Kindergarten


Link to website: http://www.finnamkindergarten.com/

* No Finnish required for this placement! The staff and children are multilingual and there are no language barriers!*

I went to this placement on my own because I had contact with a Finnish exchange student. It can be quite daunting to go on your own. If you wish to go as a pair or more, I would recommend that one of you applies to the Ruoholahti Kindergarten, and one of you apply to the Kamppi Kindergarten. These two kindergartens are right near each other (2 minute walk away from each setting) so you would not have to travel alone, but you can still get the full experience. The kindergartens often take the children to the same park during the day so you could see each other then. These kindergartens offer placements to Finnish students too, so if you want to go as a pair or small group, I would recommend contacting them as soon as possible as there is limited availability for student volunteers.


It is an English Language Playschool for children aged 3-7 years. The Finnish American Kindergarten is based on the English Curriculum, however they incorporate the values of Finnish culture.

They have different topics throughout the year and each teacher plans activities for those children in his/her group, bearing in mind the child’s interests and abilities. The children are split into 4 groups, 3 year olds, 4 year olds, 5 year olds and pre-schoolers. They were happy to allow me to choose which age group I wished to work with. I worked alongside the teacher with the 3 year olds. The kindergarten is happy to arrange flexible hours, depending on how long you are staying in Helsinki, Finland.

The staff are really helpful with answering any of your questions for your own knowledge, or for research you need to conduct. They are really welcoming, and have a huge amount of knowledge and experience to share with you. This placement is great for gaining more practical experience with children, and understanding different professional practices of children and education. Also, due to the diversity of the children and staff it is great for learning about different cultures - very useful for the academic side of this placement!



Here is a copy of the daily timetable:


8.00 - 9.00

Doors open, parents and children welcomed for table activities.

9.00 - 9.30

Circle time. We go through our daily routines (registration, calendar), we discuss our topic for that week, we sing, learn rhymes, play games, discuss any issues that have arisen and go through what activities are available that day.

9.30 - 11.00

Play and work time. Some children work in small groups with a teacher, others can choose between the activities available. Each age group has it's own teacher.

11.00 - 11.30

Lunch time. Our lunches are delivered by AMICA. Children with special diets can be catered for.

11.30 - 12.00

Free reading/book time.

12.00 - 12.15

Dressing for outdoor play.

12.15 - 13.00

Outdoor play. If the weather conditions are extremely bad we will have a music and movement lesson during this time.


Morning children leave from park

12.45 - 13.00

Afternoon children arrive to park

13.15 - 13.45

Afternoon circle, afternoon registration, story time

13.45 - 14.45

Play/work time, the focus is on creative activities.

15.00 - 15.30

Snack time

15.30 - 17.00

Park time during which children are picked up.


Kindergarten closes



Accommodation and Location

Location: Helsinki, Finland


Hotel: Scandic Grand Marina Hotel, Katajanokka

Hotel website: http://www.scandichotels.com/Hotels/Finland/Helsinki/Scandic-Grand-Marina/

Hotel Address:

Katajanokanlaituri 7

00160 Helsinki


Hotel Phone:

+358 9 16661



During my placement I stayed at the Scandic Grand Marina Hotel in Katajanokka. It is approximately a 30-minute walk from the hotel to the placement (Ruoholahti).

The hotel was beautiful, and the staff were lovely. The room cost included breakfast. If you can afford to stay here, and do not mind the 30-minute walk, it’s a great hotel. However there are other options for accommodation.


TOTAL Cost: £1,200

1. 12 nights at the Scandic Grand Marina (Bed and Breakfast)

2. Direct Flights with Finnair

3. Airport transfers (private taxi – there and back)

4. Personal Travel Insurance

5. €250 Spending money

6. Coach tickets (Nottingham Broadmarsh to London Heathrow / London Heathrow to Nottingham Broadmarsh)


Cost will vary depending on when you book, flight companies, type of accommodation etc. No charge for volunteering in the kindergarten.


I booked the hotel, flights, transfers, insurance and euro’s through the Co-op Travel:



I booked my coach tickets with National Express:



Finland, as well as the other Nordic countries, is quite expensive.

There are other accommodation options if you did not want to stay in this hotel:

  1. Other Hotels and Hostels (Websites like http://www.expedia.co.uk/ are good to look at)
  2. Air BnB (https://www.airbnb.co.uk/ )
  3. Couch Surfing  (https://www.couchsurfing.com/ )



Discounted travel and there is also a branch in Nottingham City Center.



It's also a good idea to check any hotels and hostels on Trip Advisor.



As my accommodation was only a 30minute walk away, I decided not to pay for local transport.

However, depending where you are going to stay and if you would like to travel around I would recommend buying a travel card.


The website for the Helsinki travel card is: https://www.hsl.fi/en

It should already be translated to English, if not, click top left ‘English’.


A 14-day travel card (Prices correct as of April 2015) costs €25.90.

The travel card allows you to travel on buses, trams, metro and even the ferry! So if you think you’ll be exploring, or do not like walking, I would definitely invest in this card!


I would NOT recommend getting a taxi, as they are very expensive! So buy the travel card, and plan journeys in advance.

Social Life and Places To Visit

As Helsinki is the capital of Finland there is plenty of places to eat, drink and shop. Finland is full of beautiful locations so there is a lot to do!


Visit Suomenlinna!

Suomenlinna (Fortress of Finland) is a UNESCO world heritage site. Take the 10-minute ferry from Helsinki Harbor (you can use the ferry via a travel card or pay at a machine) to the port of Suomenlinna. There are souvenir shops, café’s and beautiful views! It’s only a small island but definitely worth a visit.

Here are some photos:



Main attractions:

Helsinki Cathedral

Ateneum Art Museum

Esplanade Park

Helsinki Zoo

Kamppi Chapel of Silence

Market Square

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

National Museum of Finland

Old Market Hall


Senate Square

Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church)



Kamppi Shopping Center

Shopping Center Forum

Shopping Center Ruoholahti

Stockmann Department Store


Drinking, Eating, Bars and Clubs:

Visit Kallio - 15 minute walk or less than 5 minutes on the metro (from city center).

Kallio is more of a student area, however there are still many places in the center for social life.


A Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Milkshake Cafe



Food Shopping:

There are plenty of local shops and supermarkets - they even have Lidl! They will all vary in price, the most expensive is SIWA - so I wouldn't shop there.

'Alepa' is the cheapest shop, then 'K-mart'.


Some places are free entry, some charge. To see charges and other tourist information see the website below.

For any more information for places to visit in Helsinki, this website has all the information you need!



Advice and Tips

Culturally, Finland is very similar to the UK so not much is different. Here are a couple of tips anyway!


Not Knowing Finnish is Fine! :)

I knew absolutely zero Finnish. It's not a problem as Finnish people generally know Finnish, English and Swedish. If you enter a restaurant / shop or anywhere just say 'Hello' and they will know to speak in English to you.

The one word to learn is 'Thank you' - 'Kiitos'. Pronounced Key-toss.

A thank you goes a long way!


Don’t get a taxi!

Taxi’s in Helsinki are VERY expensive! So buy the travel card and plan where you go in advance! Otherwise they are safe to use.


Finn’s are not rude!

It may seem that Finnish people are rude, but they are just quiet. Finnish people do not feel the need to small talk like we do. So don’t be put off if no one talks all the time.


Don’t get in the way!

It seems very silly, but on most pavements in Helsinki, there is a pedestrian lane and a cycle lane. Within those lanes there is two-way traffic, so make sure you walk in the right place or you’ll be in the way. Also, on escalators one side is for standing, one side is for walking, so again try and follow everyone else.


Don't worry about the food :)

There is something for everyone! There are loads of different foods you can try - like reindeer! There is also very traditional restaurants serving usual cuisine. If you crave pizza while you are out there you can try the 'Pizza Hut' equivalent of 'Koti Pizza'.

If you are vegetarian like myself, the word for vegetarian is: 'kasvissyöjä' and vegetarian restaurant is: 'kasvisravintola'.
There is a great veggie burger place called 'Soi Soi' in Kallio.


Useful Contacts

Finnish-American Kindergarten (Ruoholahti)

Itämerenkatu 2B,
00180 Helsinki.


040 - 967 2566



Ashley Dahlbom is the Head teacher of the Ruoholahti Kindergarten.

If you would like to attend the Finnish American Kindergarten (Ruoholahti) email her:
1. Your name and contact details

2. A bit about yourself, and why you would like to do the placement at the kindergarten.

3. The dates you are available to do the placement.


However, there is two other Finnish American Kindergarten’s in the neighboring areas of Kamppi and Töölö, which you could also do your placement at if there is volunteer space available.The best way to contact the kidnergarten's is via email, and as they are an English Language Playschool, communication via English is fine.  Email the Kindergarten of your choice (however, if there is no space, you may be reffered to another kindergarten as they vary in size).


Contact details for Finnish-American Kindergarten (Kamppi)

Finnish-American Kindergarten (Kamppi)

Ruoholahdenranta 7,
00180 Helsinki.

040 - 935 6725



Contact details for Finnish-American Kindergarten (Töölö)

Finnish-American Kindergarten (Töölö)

Arkadiankatu 35,
00100 Helsinki.

040 - 756 6794


Before You Go

Check the Weather!

Website: https://weather.yahoo.com/suomi/uudenmaan-maakunta/helsinki-565346/

It can be very cold in Finland in March / April as it is only the start of spring. I would recommend some jumpers and a coat! It would also be a good idea to take so wellies and waterproofs – as it can be quite rainy, or even snow!


Take Enough Money!

Website: http://travelmoney.moneysavingexpert.com/

Check the exchange rate, and look at different places to get your Euro’s so you get the most for your money.

As Finland is expensive make sure you have enough money for food, drinks, transport, shopping and exploring! Be on the safe side and take more than you might need.

Cost of a meal: €10-20, Cost of a hot drink €3-5,
Cost of a small chocolate bar €0.90, Cost of a sandwich €3.

(Prices approximate of March 2015).


Get an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)!

Website: http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx

The EHIC is free of charge and will enable you to access state-provided healthcare in European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland, at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover your treatment until you return to the UK.


Check the Governments Foreign Travel Advice!

Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/finland

Finland is a first world European country, so the chances are it is very safe to go, but be on the safe side and check.


Check Your Phone Contract Charges!

Basic Tips Website: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-roaming-calls

O2 'TU Go' Website: http://www.o2.co.uk/apps/tu-go

I was on O2, so I downloaded an app called 'TU Go'. The app 'TU Go' lets you text, call and check your voicemail over wifi. Even if you don't have signal!
You can also buy a Prepaid Finnish SimCard if you would prefer.

However, I found that using the 'TU Go' app, and having wifi (I took my laptop) I was fine to go on Facebook and Skype etc.


Take Your University Paperwork!

It is best to print your paperwork while you are at home and take it with you. So make sure to print all your attendance logs and evaluation sheets (lecturers will advise you on this). I would also recommend printing off any research you want to take. I took interviews and questionnaires with me. However, Ashley sent out the parent questionnaires via email, and the staff printed off their own. So take a couple spares with you, and make sure to get your research checked and sent to the head teacher of the kindergarten.


Check Placement Dress Code!

During my visit to placement I was told to wear comfy clothes that did not matter if they got dirty! The staff wear boots / wellies for outdoors, and slippers inside. So I would recommend taking some slippers for indoors and boots for outdoors. Obviously due to working with children wear appropriate clothing. I wore jeans and T-shirts with a jumper if it was cold. The children go outside twice a day - so take warm clothing!
As a precaution, do double check with the head teacher if there is any dress code.


Finally, Feel Free to Contact Me!

If you would like to know any more information please feel free to email me on NOW, or add me on Facebook.



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