In English

Rajala school in English

Rajala School is a Finnish primary school for grades 1–6 (ages 7 to 13 years). The school was inaugurated in 1971 and currently employs a teaching staff of approximately 30 people. The school aims to offer a positive milieu for growth, consisting of respect for others, honesty, good manners, responsibility for one’s own work, strong self-esteem, active interaction, and the desire to learn. It also aims to provide pupils with a versatile basic education, comprising skills in interaction and the acquisition of knowledge, as well as the ability to work independently. In the academic year 2015-2016, the school has approximately 420 pupils.

Rajala School has two specialized streams. One of these is the bilingual programme (Finnish-English). One class in each grade, from one through to six, is a bilingual class. Entrance to the bilingual programme (Finnish-English) requires that students have good language proficiency in both Finnish and English, so that they are able to study in both languages. Students whose Finnish proficiency is inadequate will be allocated a place at Kalevala School in the Preliminary Schooling in Preparation for Basic Education at School in Finland Programme there.

All of the bilingual classes follow the same National Curriculum as the regular Finnish classes. In the bilingual programme, the emphasis is on acquiring English proficiency in a naturalistic way. This comes through the daily routines at school, in lessons together with the teacher, and working in English with other students. Some subjects or units are taught exclusively in Finnish. The majority of lessons, however, are taught in English. The aim is for the children to develop a natural and straightforward relationship with the language. A student in the bilingual programme must be able to attain the same curriculum goals with regard to Finnish as a peer in the regular Finnish programme would, i.e. be able to work in Finnish with concepts learned through English. This assures the student’s opportunities to be able to continue studies in Finland through the medium of Finnish, which for the majority of students, is their mother tongue.

Applicants may freely apply for the programme if they already have some proficiency in English. Applications should be made in January. Students will be admitted to the programme based on the results of an English proficiency assessment. A maximum of 24 students may be accepted to the class.

A student who has English as his or her mother tongue, but who has no knowledge of Finnish, may be accepted to the bilingual programme only if his or her stay in Finland is not permanent and is for a period of two years or less. In such instances, a personal curriculum is drafted for the student comprising the subjects taught in English and, if possible, any subjects taught in Finnish. This type of student receives a certificate of attendance from the school stating which subjects he or she has participated in. If, for whatever reason, a student accepted to the bilingual programme remains in Kuopio after the initial two years, at the beginning of the third year at school, he or she will automatically be transferred to Kalevala School into the Preliminary Schooling in Preparation for Basic Education at School in Finland Programme there.

The school’s other speciality is the music classes, and there has been a tradition of these since the 1970's. Rajala School was renovated in 2011, and the Saarela Hall was built then for the school orchestras, providing them with a fantastic venue in which to make music. From grade three onwards, students have the opportunity to participate in the music class. Applications for this take place in grade two. Rajalan puhaltajat is a parent organisation that works to help the orchestras from the music classes.