Viherkallion koulu

Viherkallion koulu is the 3rd oldest school in Espoo located in the middle of beautiful Finnish nature. It has been established in 1914. The school building was built in 1958 and it has been renovated in 2006.

There are class levels from pre-primary education (optional) to sixth grade with 350 pupils and 30 teachers working in close co-operation with 7 assistants in our school. In addition to Finnish pupils we have 16 different nationalities, 10% of total amount of pupils, presented in our school.

In Viherkallion koulu we want to emphasize multiple ways of finding and processing information within a secure and well-mannered learning environment. The work philosophy of our school consists of three main focus areas: To find information in different ways - especially using ICT - and make something new of it. To use different ways to learn and to use different kinds of pedagogic ideas – with a strong emphasis on drama - as well as to learn to use various interaction skills in living and learning. We believe above mentioned skills are of great value in future life.

If you got interested in our school or want to know more about our work philosophy or school system in general, please contact us. You can contact us by email or phone (see contact info below). Our staff will warmly welcome you.

See more about our strengths, emphasis on ICT and drama, flexible pupil grouping or the speciality of our school; skills and arts education, through links.

Strengths of Viherkallion koulu

The atmosphere in Viherkallio school is warm and caring. We strive to make Viherkallio school a place where pupils and staff work together to provide a positive and safe place where each pupil can achieve his best. Pupils have been taken into a decision making through their own pupil parliament.

In teaching (and learning) the focus is on the pupil. Each pupil is provided an individual educational plan. Flexible pupil groupings are organized according to the level of the skills of each pupil. The teachers use various pedagogical ideas in their teaching based on the learning style and need of each group. Each pupil is assessed and support is provided based on the individual needs. Intervention strategies are used with the pupils who need extra support in any subject.

Team work is emphasized in our school. Each teacher is expected to bring in new ideas and commit to developing the school. The schedules are planned so that co-teaching and team teaching are possible. Each teacher works in a close co-operation with a colleague from the same grade. This enables them to plan the lessons and evaluate the pupils together to get a more objective evaluation.

All Finnish public schools offer a free warm lunch daily. In Viherkallio school also healthy snacks are available in the afternoon for a small payment. After each lesson (45 minutes) the pupils have a 15 minute break outside. Once a day during a 25 minute break sports equipment is also available - as the pupil parliament has wished.

The special strengths of our school are the skills and arts education courses (TTK), ICT-education and English instruction beginning already on the 2nd grade. More information concerning the ICT-education and the skills and arts education courses can be found through the links.’

Flexible pupil grouping in Viherkallion koulu

In Viherkallion koulu we use flexible pupil grouping whenever it is possible and beneficial for pupils. We use flexible pupil grouping in all grades from preschool to sixth grade particularly with preschool and grades 1 to 2 as the skills and the speed of learning vary considerably between pupils. Individual needs are considered especially in math and mother tongue (Finnish). Classes are diverse with different kind of learners and different kinds of backgrounds and skills. To meet the needs and reach the best results, flexible pupil grouping is arranged with the cooperation of class teachers, special needs teachers and school assistants.

In Viherkallion koulu, we use at least four different ways of organizing a lesson depending on the objectives and the contents of the lesson. Typically we teach to the whole class in one room. Often we divide pupils into smaller groups depending on their skills. We also do projects between different class levels. The longest cooperation between different age levels is the pupil mentor-friendship that starts when the child first comes to our school and gets his welcoming “God-Pupil” friend (a pupil mentor) from fourth grade. This cooperation usually lasts until the mentors proceed to secondary school at the end of sixth grade. Depending on the tasks, teachers may use other strategies to divide the class into groupings.

Most of the flexible pupil groupings take place in grades 1 and 2 mainly in mother tongue and math. In these grades, students are divided into three small groups based on their reading and mathematical skills. Smaller groups offer better learning opportunities for children with learning difficulties, special needs and concentrating problems. Names of the groups (“Mopeds,” “Mice” and “Crows”) come from their mother tongue's textbook characters. Each group has different lessons and different degrees of difficulty in their tasks and different homework. This allows us to easily individualize teaching to higher and lower demands. Pupils change their group as their skills develop.

We have a long history of teaching in flexible pupil groups and our experience has been successful and rewarding – even though it is more demanding for teachers. The timetables of the cooperating teachers and pupils must be identical, time for planning needs to be found, this system demands financial resources and there must be the courage to try new and different ways of teaching. It also demands flexibility from teachers and pupils to handle quickly changing situations.

The best reward from flexible pupil grouping has been that the pupils truly get the individual support they need and they enjoy learning. Every pupil gets their own individual educational plan in our school. Evaluation is more objective as it has been done by more than one teacher. Teachers also know all children of their age level (including children in other classes) better as they teach them daily. This also brings security for children as they have more familiar adults around them. Substituting is also easier to arrange when there is one or two other teachers taking care of the familiar class together with the substitute. As a benefit, we have also seen that the children get to know all the kids of the same age group well and there are no ”us-them”-boundaries between classes. Children have more friends and they are able to work in changing groups with different kind of people. This also makes it easier to rearrange classes if necessary during the later years.

Skills and arts education

Viherkallion koulu has an emphasis on drama. We use drama in various contexts such as history, sciences, languages and math. Skills and arts education courses are the most apparent example of our emphasis.

We have special courses in skills and arts for the pupils from third to sixth grade in our school. The purpose of these courses is to provide pupils different experiences that they cannot get during the regular school day. In courses of drama, adventure, handicraft and physical education pupils learn for example co-operation, creativity, problem-solving and new ways of working. All pupils participate a group half a year at a time. The groups meet every other week for two hours at a time. Meetings can be arranged also as evening school or field trips etc. During his four years the pupil participates each group twice. 

Aims of skills and arts courses (e.g.)

Drama Adventure Handicraft Physical education
interaction skills self-knowledge self-expression physical condition
expression skills encouragement how to plan and build new things knowledge of different kinds of sports
listening skills team work fine motor skills motor skills

Subjects

Finnish language and literature   1st-6th grade
First foreign language (English)    3rd-6th grade
Swedish (optional)  4th-6th grade
Mathematics     1st-6th grade
Natural sciences    1st-6th grade
Religion 1st-6th grade
History 5th-6th grade
Music  1st-6th grade
Arts and craft    1st-6th grade
Physical education  1st-6th grade