On freezing morning in 2.11 our international students gathered in city center for the first kindergarten visit. We went to Teerikallio kindergarten to entertain kids for an hour. I was leading the program for children with the help of my group members and also the caretakers. First we introduced ourselves shortly, how we are Lapland University of Applied Sciences students in tourism and business degrees, where we are coming from as well as our names. After that kids were assigned with the task to draw their favorite animal. When every child was done drawing, I asked which animals they had drawn and asking them show their art to everyone. Cats were the most popular choice but dogs and bunnies were also often the choice, some animals were very unique such as a specific breed of a blue-tinted bird and a cobra.
Next kids were divided into three groups based on kindergarten´s own division of groups. An Tran hid small flags quickly to a close by room during the division process. First group had treasure hunt activity* where they had to find the flags hidden by An, second group stayed in the main hall to play toe tag** with me, Nguyen Tran, Mia Nguyen, Natalie Tran and Thai Hoa and third group played mirror*** in another close by room with Dilxat Polat and WenJu Jia. After each group was done with the activity, groups changed places and so also activities until each kid group had tried treasure hunting, toe tag and mirror. In the end all our group members thanked the caretakers and kids and I handed out certificates and candies to be given later to the kids.
As a conclusion, all of the group members and kids, maybe even caretakers, had a lot of fun. Kindergarten´s caretakers had a huge role in keeping the small kids concentrated on the activities and where quick to notice and say to kids when they were behaving badly. Language barrier issues were a little bit of a problem since only me and Dili spoke Finnish and English and could communicate with both the kids and other members. Translation needed to be done all the time to make sure all parties in activities were on top of things. It took a lot of time in total to get all messages translated and to communicate between activity leaders which resulted in small moments of uncertainty and inaction. However, in the end all major hiccups in communication were avoided due to the simplicity of the activities and effort on translating vital points so all turned out well in the end.
*Treasure hunt: Small flags are hidden inside a closed place for example a class room. ´Hunters´ are let in to find the flags and give them back to the person who assigned the treasure hunt task. In this kindergarten example small kids looked for flags together with the caretakers so there was no competition aspect. As an addition kids also got to sing a song about fruits according to the apple, pineapple and pear themed flags.
** Toe tag: Similar to usual game of tag where there is a specific catcher in beginning and after they catch someone, usually by touching the other´s back or shoulder, the caught person becomes the next catcher. In this version the twist is that you have a specific small area where you can take part in but can´t run. Catcher´s try to softly touch other´s toes with their own feet to catch the other, making the caught person a new catcher. It is recommended in the case of a Finnish kindergarten to say ´hippa´ or ´you are the catcher´ to signify who are the new catchers.
***Mirror: One person is facing towards a wall. Others are trying to touch the one person´s shoulder and catch him. However, there is a special condition for catching him. Participants will start moving from an agreed starting line towards the person who has his back turned to them and whenever the one person, ´the mirror´ looks back, participants need to stay on their present place and not move. If they move, they need to get back to the starting line. It is recommended for mirror to count to three before turning not to make catching him too difficult. Game ends when mirror is caught.
Author: Laura Ukkola
Photo: An Tran