Interview with Åsa working in childcare in our campus
Interview with Åsa working in childcare in our campus
Today, MediCarrera has two campuses in Europe. One in Calafell, outside Barcelona, and another one in Budapest. For us, it’s very important to include the whole family in our language program since we want every family member to be taken care of, not least the children. Childcare is, therefore, an important part of our work on the campus. Children will be offered a language course, and the youngest ones will be in kindergarten at the same time.
We interviewed Åsa, one of our Swedish teachers on the campus in Calafell, to give you more details about the childcare on our campuses. She told us about how they take care of the children and how it is a normal day at the campus. Åsa also mentioned a few things that are good to know for candidates planning to attend the language course together with the family in the future.
What education do you and your colleagues at the campus have?
It differs a lot. I’m a preschool teacher and certified to teach in other languages. I have TESOL-certification. My colleague Mikaela is also a preschool teacher.
You can read more about our childcare team, certifications, and staff experience here on our website.
How long have you been working at the campus?
I’ve been working at the campus for three years now.
What age are the children you take care of on campus?
The children are of all ages, from 0 years onwards. At the age of around 13 years, there is this breaking point. At this age, the child can choose if he or she rather participates in the language course together with spouses. Then, we have a conversation together with the child and the parents to agree on what’s best for the person in question.
How is the teaching process? Differs the process depending on their age?
It depends a lot on the children’s age. We divide the children into groups and this division can differ depending on the course, the number of children, and their age. Right now, we have two different groups, one for the younger children and another one for the older ones.
In the group with younger children, they are all in the age of 1-4 years. The activity and the way of teaching in this group is a lot like the kindergarten, or förskola, as it’s called in Sweden. Here there’s a lot of focus on specific language, visualizing with images, and using songs. The reason why we work extra much with visualizing the language is that the children in this group have no previous knowledge of Swedish.
No matter the age, we use body language and facial expressions a lot, illustrating images, drawing, and showing examples. We teach the children to do this, and also strategies to communicate even if they don’t know the words. We try to teach them to use other words if they don’t know the correct ones. Sometimes we also teach them to mediate by pointing or drawing something, in case they don’t know the right words. On the campus, we work with complete phrases early to help the children be able to build a meaningful communication.
What does a normal day at the campus look like for the children?
The daily schedule looks different depending on the age of the child. The schedules are not the same for the group of younger children and the group of older children.
Daily schedule for younger children:
9.15 – 9.30 – The children are left at kindergarten
9.30 – 10.00 – Gathering
10.00 – 10.30 – Breakfast
10.30 -11.45 – Playtime in the park
12.00 – 12.30 – Lunch break
12.30 – 14.00 – Break to rest or sleep
14.00 – 14.45 – Educational play and creativity
14.50 – The kindergarten closes
15.00 – 16.30 – Extended time
The younger children have not learned how to write yet, therefore, we teach them how to write new words and letters. The teaching in this group is mostly focused on oral teaching, which means we can’t use the same educational material in this group as in the group of older children.
Daily schedule for older children:
9.20 8.50 – Breakfast
9.45 9.15 – Class in Swedish
10.30 10.00 – Outdoor break
11.45 11.15 – Swedish TV series
12.10 11.40 – Lunch break
12.40 12.10 – Class in Swedish
13.20 12.50 – Indoor break
14.10 13.30 – Project
14.50 14.20 – Day ends
The teaching varies a lot in the group of older children. Depending on their age, some of them already have the written language developed and some of them, not. The older ones that can write and read are working in a book with Swedish as a second language for newly arrived. In this group, we work a lot with text and grammar.
Every day ends with a “project class” where we focus on dynamic teaching. In this class, the children work with games, arts, and crafts. This is a freer way of learning the language. For example, we buy fruit together and then, we let the children paint their fruits from how they see them, do a blind test with them and finally eat them. Together we talk about craft, colour, consistency, and taste. All children, except the youngest ones, work together on the same projects to help each other out.
Every day before lunch we also watch a Swedish series. The purpose is to let the children know a popular series from Sweden so that they later will be able to share the experience with other children in their new country. The children on campus may want to watch the same things on the TV as children of their age do in Sweden. Thanks to this activity, it’s hopefully easier for them to take part in conversations at the school playground in Sweden.
We’re working a lot with the Swedish festivals, such as “Fettisdagen”, Lucia and Easter. We celebrate them in the same way as children in Sweden do so when the children move to Sweden, they already know many of the festivals and traditions. We’re not only teaching a new language, but we’re also teaching Swedish culture. For example, the children always take off their shoes before entering the classroom because this is something you do in Sweden.
What do you believe is the hardest part for the kids, being on campus?
All children are different but for some of them, it’s hard that they don’t understand the language at the first moment. We teach them strategies to listen and to understand in different ways to make them feel more confident when it comes to the Swedish language. Sometimes it happens that children get stressed about the situation when they meet new people they don’t understand. We are used to taking care of children in this situation and we have our strategies to make them feel safe and connected with us.
What is the favourite part of your job?
I love to see children’s development. From the first day when they’re a bit doubtful and know no Swedish at all, to when they start to formulate their sentences and in the end, they can express themselves and what they want. To see them grow in their knowledge of Swedish, to see the texts they write develop, and to see how they experience themselves that they can speak Swedish. It’s fantastic to see that they move to Sweden with the feeling that they know how to speak the new language.
What’s most challenging with your job?
What’s most challenging with my job is when the children have a hard time expressing themselves. If a child doesn’t know how to express him- or herself or doesn’t want to by using other ways to communicate, like drawing, for instance, we need help from the parents to have a conversation. During the whole period, we keep close contact with the parents and talk to them every very good day. We meet them both in the mornings and the afternoons.
Do you have any tips for parents that would like to attend the language course and want to bring their kids to the campus?
What’s important for us is to receive as much information about the child as possible. Things like if the child usually sleeps after lunch, or has any allergies, if there have been any previous difficulties in school or if the child has never gone to school before.
We want the parents to be open with all the information so that we can receive the children in the best way possible. We also want the parents to know that we have a lot of experience taking care of children as we’ve done it many times before. This experience includes taking care of children that get sad as it’s normal that they’re that way during the introduction. We want the parents to know that we have a lot of experience and that we’ll take care of the children in the best possible way.
If you are interested and want to read more about our language courses and our program that includes the whole family, you can do so here on our website.
We want to thank Åsa for taking her time to answer our questions. We know that she and the other caretakers at the campus will keep up their good work with the children.
If you and your family are interested in new challenges and a new life in Scandinavia, register now!