The Groups

The Groups

The ICEC encompasses the following groups:

  • Tiddlers ( 1-2 yrs) ICEC Kilo only
  • Toddlers ( 2-3 yrs) ICEC Kilo, Westend, Töölö and Meilahti
  • Preschool 1 ( 3-4 yrs)
  • Preschool 2 ( 4-5 yrs)
  • Schoolroom
    • Reception ( 5-6 yrs)
    • Year 1 ( 6-7 yrs)

Would you like to read more about our daycares and apply for a place for your child? Please check Our Schools here.

We have two schools where we run a toddler group. Our city centre school on Dunckerinkatu runs a toddler group (two morning sessions a week, each session lasting 2hrs and 45mins). Also our Westend school runs a full-time toddler group. A two-year-old is an exciting bundle of energy eager to learn, and soaks up new experiences like a sponge. They are almost ready to step out and do things for themselves, whilst at the same time still needing the security only a caring adult and a safe environment can provide. For this reason our Toddler rooms are separate from the main school, giving the under threes the confidence they need to explore their surroundings. 

A two-year-old is very different to a three-year-old and they have specific requirements for their stage of development (having said that, it should be remembered that all children are individuals and their rates of development will vary, according to their experiences and needs). For this reason, our toddler group is not just a simpler version of our pre-school, but rather a ’play and learn’ environment aimed directly at 2 - 3 year olds, providing them with developmentally appropriate learning experiences and opportunities. 

The toddler group is small, with only six to ten children, and two key workers who are responsible for the environment and the safety of the children. We provide a bright, cheerful, friendly atmosphere, where the main goals are for the teachers to build relationships with the children making them feel safe and happy, and to provide the right environment. The room is set out in a way that encourages the children to engage in all the activities that are provided (i.e. everything is easily accessible and interesting enough to excite a child’s natural curiosity). The Toddler room is split into several different areas: Painting and craft, building and construction, carpet and book area, floor toys, games and puzzles, home play area, soft toys and puppets, drawing table etc. The children are free to make choices and decisions as to what and who to play with, while the teacher will encourage, observe and work with the children, providing the materials and some specific activities such as finger painting. All of these things will encourage children to test and practise skills, to have experiences that will aid their understanding of the world, explore their boundaries and limitations, and to discover the wonderful possibilities in what they can do.

Toddler daily schedule- example (In Toolo / Dunckerinkatu school)

9.00 Toddlers arrive. 

9.15 Toddler circle-time - sing and clap names, sing songs, discussion of what to do today. 

9.30 Start Activities - painting, drawing, clay-work, playing games etc (children choose their own activities). 

10.15 Snack Time - children sit together to eat snack which consists of wheat crackers, sandwiches, cheese, fruit/vegetables and juice/milk. 

10.30 Quiet games or puzzles on carpet area - children choose their own activities, playing with their peers and/or a teacher. 

11.00 They go into the big room for gym activities and games - music and movement, circle games and songs (music sessions will include using simple instruments to help develop rhythm, and to encourage listening to different kinds of music). 

11.30 Back to the Toddler room for story time and to finish with a few finger or nursery rhymes. 

11.50 Going home time

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At the International Childcare and Education centre we concentrate on the whole child, this involves implementing a child-centred curriculum and offering a child-centred, active learning environment, where the child can literally play and learn. This means we have to make the environment as appealing as possible. The environment, using displays, equipment and furnishings; can with carefully thought out planning, become a place that encourages imagination and curiosity. At the same time it provides the children with a feeling of security and comfort. The schools are open-plan, but are organised into many different areas: literacy, maths and science, art and craft, design and technology, role-play areas etc. 

Although the children can choose which activity to do and when, the teachers will encourage children to balance their time, and experience every area of the school. The curriculum for the 3 - 4+ children is carefully planned to meet all of their developmental needs, whilst recognising that each child is an individual. All activities within the school are planned, supervised and organised, to provide maximum all-round development for each individual child.

Pre-School daily schedule

8.00–9.00 Before school care service

9.00 Circle-time - Good morning song, say and clap names, singing. General talk and discussion / planning of days activities, introduction to topic, game/activity.   9.20  Start Activities - Choose what to do in small groups with their key worker. It may be either a session within the environment or ‘whole class’ teaching session with a follow up activity i.e. music, drama, sewing etc.

10.00 Snack Time - Children are encouraged to help set out/make the snack, pour their own juice etc.

10.20 Story time - Calendar  (day, date, weather, time, etc.), show and tell (discuss a picture or object of interest), discuss what they did in school, story.

11.45 Get ready for outside play. Or if the weather is bad, indoor games will be arranged.

12.00 Lunch time

13.00 Afternoon programme starts. This has the same format as the morning session, but with different activities (we may have junk modelling instead of free sticking on the craft table for instance).

16.00 School day finishes

16.00–17.00 After school care services

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The children in the 4-5yr group know themselves as Pre-School 2. They are considered for the most part to be part of the pre-school group (especially for things like circle time), but they do have their own agenda for the session. As well as having access to the main school as described in the preschool section, they also have their own base room.

 This room is for:

  • The high scope planning session
  • Quiet study in small groups or with their key worker
  • Story time
  • Whole class teaching
  • High scope feedback
  • Their work baskets
  • Project/group work
  • Special equipment

The room is theirs to decorate using displays, and the children, with the teacher, have control over the layout. It may have its own book-corner, computer and water/sand tray, and painting and craft area. But for these and other activities they can use the main school if they wish. 

The High Scope Approach

This embodies many of the methods that we use in the pre-school, but offers more structure to the children’s day, without taking away the child-centredness of our philosophy. We see it as a natural extension of our system, so while maintaining the children’s choice to interact with the environment on their own terms, it encourages them to plan and structure their own time.

How it works

After the first part of circle time, the children meet in the high scope room to discuss the activities available during that session and if they are focusing on any particular project or theme. After this the teacher draws the children’s attention to a list on the wall, it could look something like this:

  1. Art and craft table
  2. Water/Sand tray
  3. Computer Book corner
  4. Literacy table
  5. House/Shop
  6. Drawing table

The children, with the teachers help, choose which activities they want to do, then, in their high scope books they list the activities in the order they are going to do them. They can record the activities in various ways; either colour/shape coded, writing the number or some will write the whole thing. They are encouraged to choose at least three areas but they do not have to complete them all, there is no time limit to these activities. The children then go off to their first activity which, depending on what they are doing, may involve working with either a small group of their friends, alone, or with a teacher, or during the discussion the whole class may decide to work together on one project. When they have finished the activity, they discuss what they have been doing, with their teacher. The activity is then recorded as finished and any special notes the teacher wants to make can be recorded in the child’s high-scope book.

The High-Scopers also have whole class teaching sessions, to introduce new concepts/ideas or to focus on developing a specific skill such as writing or painting.

High-Scope daily schedule

8.00–9.00 Before school care service

9.00 Circle-time (possibly with pre-school) - Good morning song, say and clap names,singing. General talk and discussion of days activities.

9.10 Discussion with teacher about days activities e.g. what's available on the sticking table.

9.20 Write high scope choices, and start on day’s activities. Or whole class teaching with a follow up activity, for example listening comprehension or colour mixing.

10.10 Snack Time - Children are encouraged to help set out/make the snack, pour their own juice etc.

10.20 Story time - Calendar (day, date, weather, time, etc.), show and tell, feedback on morning session, story, sing a favourite song etc.

11.45 Get ready for outside play. Or if the weather is bad, indoor games will be arranged.

12.00 Lunch time

13.00 Afternoon programme starts. This has the same format as the morning session, but with different activities (we may have junk modelling instead of free sticking on the craft table for instance).

16.00 School day finishes

16.00–17.00 After school care service

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The basic philosophy of our schoolroom teachers is that a child centred environment still holds true for this age group. However instead of calling it ‘Play and Learn’, we use the term an Active Learning Environment. This means that the children learn through hands-on-active learning rather than just teacher directed-passive learning. We implement this system in a cross-curricular environment, using projects, flow-charts and the High scope system. Whole class teaching is used to introduce basic concepts, new projects, and ideas to the children; giving them the confidence and knowledge to explore, investigate, and learn, both with and without a teacher.

The classroom is a bright, cheerful room, with much of the children’s work on display. It is divided into the following areas using shelving or carpeting: 

  • Literacy area
  • Art and Craft area
  • Role-play, i.e. house and shop
  • Math and Science centre
  • Reading area
  • Construction area
  • Design and Technology area
  • Nature area
  • I.T centre 

The curriculum we use is the foundation stage for the younger group and the English National Curriculum Key Stage 1 for the older group. The sections of this curriculum are listed below, along with some examples of how they can be presented and taught to the children.

Speaking and Listening

Providing the opportunity for talking and listening.
Circle time, discussion and story time, drama and music, one to one conversation, poems and rhymes, word games, E.S.L. show and tell.

Reading and Writing
Exposure to the written word, drama.
Labelling objects in the classroom, books available all the time, carefully graded reading schemes, games like I-spy, reference books available, story time and reading circle, library club.

Mathematics 1
Using and applying mathematics

Mathematics 2
Number and algebra

Mathematics 3
Shape, space, measure

Mathematics 4
Handling data.
Set up shop area, Multi-link, calculators, computer, games, group bingo, measuring (height, weight, etc.), carefully graded workbooks, whole class teaching, especially for the 6+ group, research and graphs, cookery etc.

Physical process, materials and their properties. Experimental and scientific enquiry, investigative life processes and living things.
Sand and water tray, pouring, measuring, floating, sinking, weight, freezing, absorbing etc. animals, life process and living things, study school animals, look at environmental issues, human biology, project on self, plant life, cooking, magnets, prisms, energy, mirrors, kits for electrical experiments. 'Whole class teaching' to introduce or reinforce a concept.

Design and Technology
Construction kits, junk modelling, woodwork, sewing, outside play, junk modelling, designing and producing with the help of a teacher, in groups or alone.

Information Technology
Computers, office equipment, word processor, type writer, household appliances (videos, CDs), cameras, tapes. Children should gain knowledge of and have experience in using equipment.

Art and Craft
As many different arts and crafts as possible, using a variety of materials, explore different art forms, children can cut and dye their own designs, still-life drawings, clay and papier machè modelling. Art materials available in the environment for free artistic expression.

Project work i.e. dinosaurs, drama-dressing up etc. music, books, old objects brought into school for discussion, field trips, videos.

Environment, immediate surroundings, simple map and compass work, contrast between town- village etc. Other countries- clothes, food etc. study children's atlas and work books, environmental studies. Including how we can look after our planet.

Physical Education
Organised games and sports, gymnastics. Outside activities including climbing, dancing and moving to music.

Plays- make own costumes, make-up- children can video their plays and add sound effects and music, role-playing, making up stories alone or in a group. Acting out different emotions.

Music and music theory are an important part of the school curriculum, singing, music, dance, music and movement along with the art and craft we do is the heart of our philosophy, a lot of what we teach and how we teach is through music and art. Song, music, rhythm and rhyme form an integral part of the curriculum and philosophy of the school.

Celebrating different festivals such as the Chinese New Year, examining other cultures- music, food history etc. The children are introduced to many different cultures to help them become aware that we are all different and yet the same, that there are many different beliefs and ways of living and that we do not all look the same, and that these differences should be respected.

Sewing and cooking classes are held once a week for all the children and are in small groups.

We change the topics regularly and we use the topic to cover all the areas of the curriculum. The children learn by using a mixture of whole class teaching (where the teacher addresses all the children together), active learning (where they explore and discover for themselves), cross-curricular topics and themes, one to one teaching and small group work. They also use the High Scope method of planning their activities at the beginning of each session, and a feedback discussion at the end of the session.

Schoolroom daily schedule

8.00–9.00 Before school care service

9.10 Circle-time Good morning song, say and clap names, singing, discussion of days activities, topic, or general discussion.

9.30 Children plan their day using the High scope list, then start the activities. Or the teacher may need to introduce a new concept to the children, involving, for instance, maths or science, and so may need to do some whole class teaching first. The children may also be going to a cooking,nature, woodwork etc.

9.35 Children begin their activities; the teacher and assistant work with small groups of children,giving extra help to those who need it and checking completed work. Reading is done one to one with beginners during the morning session. Those who are more fluent can form small reading groups.

10.15 Short break for snack. Children are encouraged to help set out the snack, pour their own juice etc

10.30 Feedback session and discussion on carpet, followed by story time, show and tell, and word or number game on board.

11.00 Get ready for outside play. Or if the weather is bad, indoor games will be arranged.

12.00 Lunch time

13.00 Afternoon programme starts. This has the same format as the morning session, but with different activities (we may have junk modelling instead of free sticking on the activity table for instance)

16.00 School day finishes

16.00–17.00 After school care service. This has the same format as the morning session, but with different activities.

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