Pia Pakarinen, Deputy Mayor for Education, City of Helsinki
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Early language learning
What is Early language learning?
Helsinki's goal is to improve its residents' language skills. Thanks to their strong language skills, the people of Helsinki will be able to cooperate in their international home city and around the world in a range of languages. Helsinki is trying to achieve this by starting language studies even earlier than before in order to make use of children's natural ability to learn and speak new languages. Language studies also teach children thinking and learning skills and tenacity.
In every case, language teaching takes into account the learner's age; to begin with, languages are taught through play, songs, games and activities. Language teaching is inspiring and requires participation. For example, pupils can select what subjects the language lessons cover. Assessment is there to support the pupil's learning, and is encouraging in nature. Appropriate use is made of digital tools to aid learning. Early language learning emphasises oral skills, practising pronunciation and intonation, and the joy of learning something new.