Preparatory education for basic education (VALO)

The majority of pupils with a migrant background participate in preparatory education for basic education. The preparatory education is intended for pupils who have recently arrived in Finland or have arrived before school age or for children born in Finland who are not yet able to study in the basic education class due to a lack of Finnish language skills.

The objective of preparatory education is to create a safe learning environment for the pupil and to allow them to get to know and adapt to the Finnish school system, the society, and local culture. In preparatory education, the pupil receives the linguistic, social, intellectual and basic working skills needed to move forward.

The emphasis of the teaching is mainly on Finnish language skills and, if possible, on the child’s mother tongue. When planning the teaching, the pupil’s needs should be comprehensively taken into account. The teaching objectives for immigrant pupils who have received little or no education must be set according to their level.

The model of preparatory education in Seinäjoki aims at integrating the pupils rapidly into the mainstream classes. If needed, support is provided after the preparatory phase as well. Preparatory education is centralised and organised in designated schools. There are designated schools in different areas of the city where the teaching of new immigrant children is centralised. As the preparatory education begins, the pupil’s needs are assessed. At the very beginning, the pupil studies under the direction of the preparatory class teacher in the preparatory education class (kotipesäluokka). However, every pupil in the preparatory education class has a place in the mainstream class from the beginning. Therefore, as soon as the pupil’s language and other skills are at sufficient level, the pupil will be integrated into the mainstream class, at least in the arts, music, physical education and home economics classes. Integration to other basic education classes may be possible already at an early stage.

Schools designated for preparatory education

  • have a preparatory education class (kotipesäluokka) from which the pupil is integrated to the mainstream class;
  • reserve a place for the pupil in the mainstream class;
  • initiate the teaching in the preparatory education class;
  • integrate the pupil rapidly into the mainstream art, music, physical education and home-economics classes;
  • aim for increased integration with or without the preparatory class teacher.

At the moment, the schools designated for preparatory education are:

  • Kirja-Matin koulu
  • Lintuviidan koulu
  • Marttilan koulu
  • Nurmon yläaste
  • Seinäjoen lyseo
  • Toivonlanrannan yhtenäiskoulu
  • Valkiavuoren koulu

Integration to basic education

After the preparatory education, pupils with an immigrant background will be taught Finnish as a second language (S2), their own religion and possibly their own mother tongue (the two latter may be possible already during the preparatory education period). Immigrant pupils are entitled to support and special education services. During the first six years of the studies, they are also entitled to government-assisted remedial teaching. Sometimes the pupils need particularly heavy support.

Religious and ethics education

The schools of the Seinäjoki region have started to implement partially combined ethics education. The pupils continue to receive teaching on their own religion, but the themes that are common for all religious and ethics subjects will be taught jointly. In religious and ethics education, the primary topics are communality, the pupil’s own religious community, and the religion itself. This helps the pupil to learn to build their identity and, on the other hand, to understand the different views and opinions of other people. Pupils with an immigrant background receive religious education either as distance or classroom education. The evaluation of religious and ethics education is based on the objectives of each subject.

Teaching the mother tongue

As complementary teaching, pupils with an immigrant background will be offered classes on their own mother tongue when possible. At the beginning of teaching, there must be at least four pupils in the group.