What language is used in Kipinä?
Kipinä is an English language preschool. We also offer local languages as part of the program and include additional languages based on demand.
Will my child be able to transition into K-12?
Kipinä provides a structured learning program exposing children to guided education in a fun way. This prepares children for an easy entry into any KG school, regardless of the curriculum or program.
Where does Kipinä’s license come from?
Kipinä preschools are fully licensed by the relevant authorities in each country.
Where can I get a copy of your policies and procedures?
They are available from the Preschool Manager. A copy is on the front desk of Kipinä and will be emailed to you following registration and payment of the term’s tuition.
Does Kipinä teach religion?
No. We feel religious and spiritual guidance is best left to parents. We do however teach kindness, tolerance, and respect for all people, animals, and the environment.
Is there CCTV in Kipinä nurseries?
Yes. There are cameras throughout Kipina preschools and these record all activity. The recordings can be reviewed with the school principal if necessary. Some Kipina preschools allow parents to access the cameras through a secure portal directly from a mobile app. In other schools parents are welcome to view the cameras from a private room at the preschool. Decisions on access to cameras are made on a country by country basis and must balance the comfort of parents with staff and children rights to privacy, and local laws which in some cases do not permit recordings of female staff at work to be accessible remotely.
What other safety features are in the preschool?
Kipinä takes safety and hygiene very seriously. There is an extensive fire system including (a) smoke detectors (b) fire extinguishers (c) emergency exits direct from the upper floor. Some of our preschools also have fire sprinkler systems.
All floors and paint are non toxic. Furniture is wooden and sturdy (not plastic). Play areas have special rubber surfaces.
There are safety latches on all gates.
How often do you conduct fire drills in the preschool?
We conduct fire drills every month at each of our Kipinä preschools.
Does Kipinä provide food?
Kipinä provides healthy snacks and water. We also refrigerate and heat food provided by parents.
Will my child watch TV?
Absolutely not. We believe passively watching TV or playing with pre-made plastic toys dulls children. Kipinä is all about learning through play, role modeling, active participation, making and creating.
Where do Kipinä teachers come from?
Our teachers are all Early Childhood or Primary Education experienced and are degree holders from all over the world. All of the teachers are trained by Kipinä’s Global Academic Director, Jeannine Laubner, on the Kipinä program and how to teach it.
What's different about Kipinä’s Program versus other Early Years programs?
Kipinä is an innovation in early years education inspired by globally acclaimed Finland. It encompasses all of the latest research on how children learn and develop, as well as what sets them up for the best transition into formal school. Kipinä believes that learning begins at birth and that the way children learn at this age sets a trajectory for how they will learn later in life. Our program is intentional which means that it has educational aims and goals for every age and stage of development. We blend the fundamentals of literacy, language, communication, and numeracy with the higher order thinking skills to build that independent learner and creative and analytical mindset. Kipinä is the only program in the world that has an emphasis on character development and relationships. The way we teach the program through Focused Instruction enables us to scaffold learning so children progress at their own pace.
Are your teachers trained on your program?
Our teachers are trained intensively on the program, how to teach it, and how to plan and schedule it. Our Global Academic Director, Jeannine Laubner, does all of the training, and audits. Our Head Teachers oversee the implementation of the program, and they spend all their time in the classrooms coaching both teachers and TA’s. Additionally, all of our staff have been trained in Pediatric First Aid and Fire Safety.
How do you maintain class sizes?
We have one teacher and 2 TA’s for every classroom. We also have two TA’s that float between the classes. If a teacher is ill, the Head Teacher takes over the class for that day
What are the educational aims of Kipinä?
Kipinä’s aim is to develop lifelong learners who are confident in their skills and abilities, are caring, ethical citizens and who have an entrepreneurial spirit. Our goal is to begin to imbed a mindset of innovation and entrepreneurship in the early years and to set kids up with basic foundational knowledge for success in their formal school years.
How does your program build innovation in children?
Our program encourages exploration in which children are guided to become critical, creative and independent thinkers. We help children employ materials, tools and language to create imaginary worlds in which they can explore possibilities and test alternative solutions.
How is play incorporated into the program?
Play is incorporated into every aspect of our program and across all curricular domains. Our play is intentional with educational aims and goals for every age and stage of development. We also place emphasis on developing imagination, wonder and curiosity in our children.
How do you know that babies can learn?
Research clearly supports that learning begins at birth. Significant brain development occurs in the first three years, marked by rapid transformation in physical, cognitive, social and emotional development especially during the first three years of life
How is the program like Finland’s?
Kipinä is inspired by the teaching methods and approaches to learning that have brought success to the Finnish school system. We share their deep belief that children need access to quality early childhood education, that all teachers working with children must be extremely qualified, and an integrated learning experience that focuses on the whole child. Finland’s program is based on extensive pedagogical research similar to Kipinä’s. The intention behind Kipinä’s program was similar to Finland’s as well, in wanting to create lifelong learners. Kipinä’s program is not only more extensive and measurable than Finland’s, but also based on what current research expresses as fundamental in learning today such as competency-based learning, integration of character education, and 21st century development.
How will my child integrate into K-12 if he/she is attending an American or British School?
Much of the program design has been to ensure that Kipinä Kids will be able to meet the assessment targets of any educational system worldwide. As such your child should experience a very smooth transition into any kind of formal school.
How do you measure my child’s progress?
Our teachers collect evidence in a daily progress journal which is then shared with parents. We also ensure we have anecdotal notes and observations to help us to identify a child’s progress over time in our program. We share daily pictures on a private parent Facebook group. At the end of each term, all of our evidence is shared with parents in a progress report.
As a parent how do I adapt similar philosophies at home to keep the learning consistent?
At Kipinä we believe deeply that parents are our partners in working with children. Teachers will be sharing with parents ways in which they can support learning similar to what is being experienced in our classrooms.
What specific educational outcomes can I expect from Kipinä?
Kipinä’s program has educational aims, goals and outcomes for every age and stage of a child’s development between the ages of 2 months to 4 years. We are able to share their social, emotional, physical and cognitive development across our six core curricular domains.
How much one to one teacher time does a child in Kipinä get?
Our teacher to child ratios are 1:3 and 1:5 in our classrooms, ensuring one to one interaction and individual attention. Kipinä also tends to over staff, and we always have a Teacher in Development and/or floater TA’s for every floor.
When does that one to one time happen?
Teachers and TA’s actually have a lot of time to spend with the children one on one during the formal and informal parts of our program. These happen during small group activities, various learning centers, physical developmental activities as well as arrival and pick up times.
What do you teach for physical development?
Children participate in a variety of physical activities both indoors and out to facilitate the development of fine and gross motor skills. Chasing, climbing, throwing, kicking, catching and running increase their bodily awareness, control, strength and agility.
How do you teach character? Is this not something that parents should be teaching their children?
Our teachers create an environment where character education is infused in the daily activities of Kipinä children. Core virtues of empathy, responsibility, respect, perseverance, kindness, compassion and resilience are taught through the use of literature, role play, self modeling and appreciation.
Aren’t these children too young to be able to count and learn their letters? Shouldn’t they just be playing?
Research proves that the first three years of learning are the most important in brain development and how and what children learn at this age, sets a trajectory for how they will learn later in life. Everything that we do is play based, but children are limitless with their possibilities to learn at any age. Our play is intentional – so that learning is fun and they learn to love learning. If a child loves to learn, they will continue to learn for the rest of their lives.
How is technology integrated into the program?
The digital technologies and tools are used to provide an engaging learning environment that supports the development of children as they become digital citizens within our global society. At Kipinä, technology is used only for education and not entertainment. We do not allow passive television watching. Moreover, the technology is used as ”tool” and not as a “teacher”.
All your toys and learning resources seem to be wooden. Why is this?
Plastic can leach BPA and we wouldn’t want to expose our children to these toxic chemicals. Plastic also easily breaks and can create dangerous sharp edges. Our learning resources are safe, sturdy wood. They are designed to stimulate our children so they become curious, creative and confident learners. All of our toys are natural wood and we have a minimal plastic policy in the preschool. We prefer that we help kids to learn how to ‘create’ things and stimulate their brain and imagination as opposed to having a toy stimulate them. This is the basis of our program.
My child is very shy – how will you help him/her integrate into the classroom?
Joining a new environment can be more challenging for some children than for others. We know this and work to ensure that each child feels safe, welcome, and cared for. We nurture each child into the classrooms by helping them to become familiar with that which is unfamiliar. This includes talking with them, introducing them to the other children and keeping a watchful eye to their inclusion into the activities in the room. You can help by talking to your child about what he or she will be doing and what their daily experiences will be like at the preschool. Just let us know what more we can do to facilitate a smooth transition for your child.
My child seems to be hitting everyone and everything lately? Can you tell me why this is?
Some of the most common causes of aggression are fear, getting used to being away from home or reacting to the frustration of not being able to communicate, speak, express ones-self, learn new skills or build new relationships. The early years are a time of learning about our emotions and how to express them using our ‘words’. If a child has not achieved emotional regulation, they may try to express their emotions through their behaviors. Teaching children how to self-regulate their emotions is an important part of our teaching and our children’s learning at Kipinä. We also focus on helping to neutralize any meaning around emotion and use their words to communicate their feelings instead of acting out.
My child does not speak any English but I want him/her to learn. Will they be able to?
English is the primary language at Kipinä, so yes they certainly will be able to speak it. It can take just a few weeks for them to first understand and then start to speak in the English language.
My child has speech delay problems, will your program help him/her to speak? What causes this problem?
An expressive language delay can happen for many reasons including problems with mouth formations used to make sounds, hearing loss, a learning disability or a developmental disorder of the brain. If your child suffers from a speech delay, his/her teacher will work with them beginning first with mouth formations to pronounce words and sounds. They will also work with you to understand if there are any other factors that might be contributing to the delay. Sometimes kids just need time and encouragement to use their expressive language skills.
My child has difficulty sitting for long periods of time. Are they expected to sit all day?
No, the children are not expected to sit continuously for long periods. They participate in a variety of carefully planned activities changing every 15-20 minutes. Many of these activities are conducted standing or moving around as we understand that children at this age should not be expected to sit for long periods of time.
What is your policy on aggressive behavior and biting because I don’t want my child to be hurt when he or she is in your care?
Often children exhibiting this behavior are still developing emotional regulation and need our help to learn to identify their emotions and then to ‘use their words’. Parents of the child that is biting are invited to have a discussion to help pinpoint the exact problem. Teachers and staff will make whatever adjustments needed where possible. In the rare case that the child continues biting, we will work with the parents on a plan to jointly help the child, consistently. If necessary, Kipinä may suggest that the child get a shadow teacher.
Can I stay in the classroom with my child until she/he acclimatizes?
We encourage you to stay until your child has fully acclimatized. However to help him/her achieve this quicker, we encourage you to shorten your stay gradually. You may however, pop in at any time to see how your child is doing.
Do you teach other languages besides English?
Yes, subject to local demand.
Does my child have to take those languages?
Your child will take those languages only if you opt to.
How can I better help my child integrate into the preschool environment?
There are a few ways that you can help your child integrate into the preschool. It’s good to start to talk to them about Kipinä a few weeks before you bring them. We send out a picture of the teacher and classmates in advance of your child joining Kipinä and so it’s good to share this with him/her so they can familiarize themselves. We also have an integration timetable, where we ask you to spend some of your time a few hours a day at the preschool with your child until they feel settled. Every child’s integration is different and so the integration schedule is not set in stone.
Can I come with my child, just for a few days to see if my child will be okay before I pay and commit?
We can safely say that every child will transition well into a preschool environment. For some it may take more time but we know that they will eventually settle. Our policy is that you must commit and pay before you bring your child to Kipinä. We do have an integration schedule that will enable you to slowly integrate your child into Kipinä. We have never had a child not adjust to the preschool.
What time should I bring my child?
You should bring your child by 9am the latest and have him spend at least 4-5 hours a day to really get the full benefit of the program.
What time do they eat lunch?
Lunch breaks are between 11:00pm – 12:00 pm every day, toddlers eating early and older kids eating later. Babies eat as per the schedule set by their parents.
What should I bring for my children when they start at Kipinä?
The admissions team has a full list of supplies for you to bring to Kipinä with your child. These include a water bottle, a spare change of clothes, blanket, pillow, and favorite toy. Everything should be clearly labelled. We do not provide food as we believe children at this age should be eating food similar to their parents. We ask that you also bring two snacks and a healthy lunch for your child. We have a NO NUTS and NO SUGAR policy in the preschool.
What time do they nap?
Children go down to nap after lunch. The duration of their nap is dependent upon each child.
I prefer my child does not take a nap. What other activities do you have for them?
Nap time is quiet time at Kipinä so if they are not sleeping, they are either reading books, doing quiet activities or playing outside if the weather is not too warm.
How does Kipinä help me in potty-training my child and when should I start it?
Usually around the age of 2-2.5, most kids can be potty-trained. You will have to start it at home first and we suggest you do this during holidays so you have enough time to manage initial accidents. Later, you will work together with the staff and inform them of the method you prefer and the frequency of toileting. We will model your approach to training.
Where does your furniture come from?
Our furniture is custom made by early year’s manufacturers in Asia and Europe.
How do you know it is safe?
It’s made to the highest global safety standards in the world. It’s sturdy, durable and child proofed. The manufactures are experienced in making preschool furniture.
What will my child be sleeping on?
We have mattresses for every child at Kipinä. We encourage parents to bring the child’s favorite blanket, pillow and cuddly toy for nap time.
Why don’t you have anything on the walls?
Occupational Therapist research shows that too much colour and clutter overstimulates and distracts children at a time that we are trying to develop self-regulation skills. Clutter on the walls easily distracts kids, prohibiting their focus on what is important. Our focus is on the child, and we want them to be able to focus on their interactions with us. Everything a child has made at Kipinä goes home with the child so that parents can see it and ask questions about their day.
What is the Imaginarium?
Our Imaginarium is one of the most fun places to be on planet earth. Kipinä, which means ‘spark’ in Finnish, was created by its founders to ignite the spark in young people to really love to learn and to use their imagination. Learning to use your imagination is critical to a healthy, abundant and happy life and is critical in building an innovation mindset. The Imaginarium has been designed for this purpose with children doing creative arts, innovative arts, performance arts, dramatic play and music in the Imaginarium. They sing, dance, dress up, colour, paint, and create. Anything is possible!
Do I have access to the CCTV cameras on my phone and computer?
This decision is made at branch level. Some branches provide in-app viewing, others provide a private room onsite in which parents can view the cameras in their child’s room or play area.
What kinds of outdoor activities do you do with the children every day?
In the summer months all of our activities are indoor. In the winter months we spend a great deal of our time outside playing, treasure hunting, building eco gardens, sand and water, swinging, sliding, climbing, etc.
What safety measures are in place in the preschool?
All of our staff are trained in Pediatric First Aid and Fire Safety. We also have a full time nurse on staff and a contract with a doctor’s office on call. We have sufficient staff in each class to ensure that children are well attended to. We have adhered to all of the fire safety requirements. Fire doors are located throughout the nurseries. We also have CCTV cameras. Our furniture is child proofed and made by children’s preschool manufacturers. All of our floors have 12mm of rubber underlay. The edges of every wall and corner inside and outside is covered with protective matting. Our gates inside and outside are also adult proof so children cannot open and close them. Our outside gate has an access card security access and camera so we can see who is entering the preschool.
What happens if there is an accident in the preschool?
It depends on the nature of the accident, but we have all of the measures in place to ensure that children are as safe as possible and minimize any risk of an accident. We have a full time nurse who will observe the child and a doctor on call who can come at any time if required.
All your toys and learning resources seem to be wooden. Why is this?
Plastic can leach BPA and we wouldn’t want to expose our children to these toxic chemicals. Plastic also easily breaks and create dangerous sharp edges. Our learning resources are safe, sturdy wood, designed to stimulate our children so they become curious, creative and confident learners. All of our toys are natural wood and we have a minimal plastic policy in the preschool. We prefer that we help kids to learn how to ‘create’ things and stimulate their brain and imagination as opposed to having a toy stimulate them. This is the basis of our program.Where do you source your games, toys, learning resources?
We source all of our learning resources from children’s suppliers worldwide. Our outdoor and indoor play centers and imagination playsets come from the USA.
Do you have TV in the preschool?
We have a no television policy in the preschool. While we believe in integrating technology into our program with smart boards and tablets yet these are used as teaching tools. Any videos we may show, are specific to learning aspects of the program and the teacher is always beside the video doing the actions and teaching the children. Videos are also used sometimes to bring concrete learning experiences for kids.
What are the professional backgrounds of your teachers?
Our teachers first and foremost have to have a love and passion for developing children in the early years. They will have degrees or diplomas in Education or Psychology. Some come from other educational systems like Montessori, EYFS, Waldorf, etc but we do intensive training on our program to ensure that they understand its aims and goals and know how to bring it to life so our children are inspired and happy. We also have a full time Head Teacher whose role in the classroom is to make sure that the Teaching team is bringing the program to life.
Where do your teachers come from?
One of our core values is ensuring cultural diversity is represented across our teaching team. As such our teachers come from all over the world. All have strong English skills and capabilities.
Are your teachers trained on your program?
Our teachers are trained intensively on the program, how to teach it, and how to plan and schedule it. We train twice a year in August and in January. Our Global Academic Director, Jeannine Laubner, does all of the training. Our Head Teachers oversee the implementation of the program, and they spend all their time in the classrooms coaching both teachers and TA’s. As well all of our staff have been trained in Pediatric First Aid and Fire Safety.
How do you maintain class sizes?
We have one teacher and 2 TA’s for every classroom. We also have two TA’s that float between the classes. If a teacher is ill, the Head Teacher takes over the class for that day.
Are they left alone with Teaching Assistants?
Yes, the kids are with the TA’s during teacher breaks and planning time. We also break the children into smaller groups so the TA’s often oversee parts of the program implementation. Most of our TA’s have education backgrounds and we spend a great deal of time training them.
Do all of the teaching staff speak in a proper English dialect?
All of our teachers speak English and most of them have English as a first language.
Who manages the preschool?
We have a Preschool Manager in each preschool.
How many staff do you have and what is the child/teacher ratio?
We have a teacher for every class supported by two TA’s and two floater TA’s. We also have a Head Teacher, Preschool Manager, a Registered Nurse and Admissions Coordinator/Receptionist
What criteria do you look for in teachers?
First and foremost our teachers must be passionate about developing children in our age groups, ages 2 months to 4 years. They must also have backgrounds or experience in education with either a degree or a diploma.
What is the background of your Teaching Assistants?
Most of our TA’s have education backgrounds. We provide constant training and coaching to develop their skills to become more in line with TA standards in the rest of the world.
Do you have a nurse on staff?
Yes, each preschool has a full time Nurse on staff .
What are her qualifications?
Each nurse has a nursing degree from their country of origin.