The daycare groups are arranged according to the age of the children, so that the children’s language skills, playing skills and motor skills are at a similar level. In addition, as Albatross is an international daycare, children and families get to experience other cultures within the daycare.
The teacher to child ratio is one teacher for seven children. Working in the team normally consists of a daycare teacher and an assistant teacher. Children call everyone by their first name and, within Albatross all staff members are considered teachers.
To ease the transitions for children, the aim is at least one teacher will follow the children as they progress from group to group.
At this early stage in a child’s life we focus on providing excellent care and developing their linguistic skills in English. The teachers in this group work on building relationships with the children, make them feel safe and happy and to provide a positive learning environment.
In this group we have 8 children with two staff members.
3 year olds, “Penguins”
For many families, this is the start of taking their first steps in daycare life. The most important goal for the first year is to focus on teaching the children daily life and social skills. Throughout the year, children become accustomed to being in a group and functioning as a group and continue on their goal towards independence.
Parent/teacher talks are held to build an early children education plan for each child, which also supports the families during these life changes. Families are encouraged to come with thoughts and ideas to this meeting.
As the year progresses, the child’s English gradually develops. It is important that families remember to focus on their mother tongue at home. Studies have shown having a strong mother tongue supports learning a second language.
In this group there is 14 children and two staff members.
4 year olds, “Parrots”
With one year already behind them, children are already familiar with daily life and routines in the daycare. The children’s character and abilities can be seen through their actions and activities.
By this stage, the child’s language skills have developed so much they can hold very versatile conversation. The child’s individual skills and development are taken into account when considering the daily programme.
If a child is coming to Albatross for the first time, the classroom teachers support the child in learning and speaking English, from the beginning. In addition, other children are happy to assist the teachers in certain situations, especially when a new language and customs are unfamiliar.
In this group there is 14 children, with two staff members.
5 year olds, “Hawks”
For many children in the five year old group, this is the third year in Albatross. The child’s skills and knowledge have developed so that activities happen both in big and small groups. Children do small projects and make regular trips to different places. Language skills are very versatile at this stage and children’s independence is rapidly developing. Children in this group also start becoming familiar with the Finnish language through songs and rhymes.
If a child is coming to Albatross for the first time, teachers have time to support those children in developing their English skills from the beginning. Sometimes five year olds are hesitant in using a new language, but the development can still be fast. In this group, some of the children have moved from the four year old group and some of the children have come from abroad or from another daycare.
In this group there is 21 children with three staff members.
4 & 5 year olds “Finches”
When coming to the daycare for the first time, one of the main goals in this group is language development and integration into an English language environment.
Activities are arranged according to the early childhood education curriculum, the age of the children and each child’s individual needs.
There are Finnish lessons once per week for all five year old children in the daycare.
This group has 14 children with two staff members.