Finland Children and School
How is school in Finland?
In Finland children start school at the age of seven. They then go to school together for nine years. So they are not divided into different types of school. A 10th school year can be added voluntarily. The primary school here is called Peruskoulu. Before that, all children have to go to kindergarten for at least one year.
One goal is that as many students as possible can attend regular school together – even children with learning difficulties or disabled children. There are a lot of remedial classes, also for children who come from abroad and don’t speak Finnish very well.
Most students go to school after an exam, either to a vocational school or to high school (Lukio). The duration of the grammar school is generally three years. Most pupils do the Abitur after a total of twelve school years. Check microedu to see schooling information in other European countries.
Finnish and Swedish
Since Finland officially has not only Finnish as an official language, but also Swedish, all students have to learn the other language. Classes are also offered in both languages, provided there are Swedish-speaking children in the community.
In Finland there are grades from 4 to 10. 10 is the best grade. Grades may only be awarded from the 5th grade, from the 7th grade onwards they are compulsory. Finland usually scores well in international comparisons. By the way, only someone who has had very good grades can become a teacher. Group lessons and interdisciplinary learning in projects are part of the concept in Finland. This is called phenomenology here. There is also homework, by the way.
Not only school attendance in Finland is free, but also school books, transport to school in the school bus and lunch. The pupils in elementary schools share this with their teachers.
What are the names of children in Finland?
The most popular girl names in Finland include Ella, Sofia, Emma, Aada, Aino, Venla, Helmi, Emilia, Siiri, and Sara. You know some of them, but we don’t know others like Aino or Venla. It is similar with the boys. They are often called Onni, Elias, Eetu, Leo, Aleksi, Niilo, Veeti, Oliver, Joona and Eino.
And with the surnames? Korhonen is the most common surname in Finland. Kari Korhonen is a well-known example of this, he is a comic book artist. Virtanen, Nieminen, Mäkinen, Hämäläinen, Koskinen, Heikkinen and Järvinen are also common. Noticeable: They all end in -nen. In the past, this was usually used to refer to a place where the family lived. Mäkinen actually means “little mountain”. But there are also names that end differently, such as Seppälä, Niemi or Halla.
When Finland’s national consciousness awoke in the early 20th century, many Finns changed their previously Swedish names to Finnish. The writer Alexis Stenvall became Aleksis Kivi. Hereditary surnames were only introduced at this time.
Now you can put together your favorite name in Finnish. What would your name be if you were born in Finland? Maybe Helmi Mäkinen or Onni Heikkinen?
How do Finnish children live?
In Finland, the winters are long and cold. The more north you live, the longer the winter lasts. Since there is also a lot of snow, most Finnish children learn to ski and of course they like to play in the snow. Inside, they also like to play on the computer or watch television. Incidentally, English films are shown in English with Finnish subtitles. They then enjoy the short summer even more. They play outside and they like sports like baseball, dancing, soccer, or horse riding.
Christmas in Finland
Where does Santa Claus live? In Finnland!
Apparently Santa Claus is supposed to live in Finland. He has one residence in the Korvatunturi mountain and another in Rovaniemi. It’s right on the Arctic Circle. The Santa Claus Village is also located there. Here you can meet Santa Claus all year round. He lives with his wife Joulumuori and the Tonttus. These are the Christmas elves who help Santa Claus. Some make gifts, others are responsible for the post, look after the reindeer or help in the kitchen.
If the way there is too far for you, you can also write to Santa Claus, because he has his own post office here. The address is Santa’s Main Post Office, FIN-96930 Napapiiri.
How do you celebrate Christmas in Finland?
Santa Claus is called Joulupukki in Finland. He brings the presents on Christmas Eve. He comes to the houses with his reindeer sleigh. He knocks on the front door and asks: “Onkos taällä kilttejä lapsia?” That means: “Are there good children here?”
Traditionally, on Christmas Eve, people eat Christmas ham, potato and turnip casseroles, herring and beetroot salad (Rosolli). In some areas, deer or elk meat is also on the table. Gingerbreads are already baked in Advent. Joulutortut is also popular. These star-shaped puff pastries are filled with plum jam. One likes to drink Glögi with it, a mulled wine that is also available without alcohol.
They also put up a Christmas tree in Finland. A typical Christmas decoration is Himmeli: a mobile that is made from straws. You are also happy to go to the sauna together on Christmas Eve. The Christmas truce is read out on television – many people in Finland watch it every year. He is called out in Turku at 12 noon. This officially declares peace for Christmas Eve and Christmas days.