Children start comprehensive school in the year they turn seven. The City of Kouvola assigns children to their local public school (lähikoulu) the year before their comprehensive schooling is set to begin. The city sends out an information package with enrollment information in the spring before school begins.
Children, who have arrived in Kouvola from abroad, and are residents of the city, are eligible for a period of preparatory education to ease their transition into the Finnish school system. This period takes from six months to a year. The preparatory education includes language instruction, and depending on the child’s age and needs, extra support from a staff of education professionals. Preparatory education takes place in two schools in Kouvola: Mansikkamäki and Vahtero.
Primary schools for children (grades 1 through 6) provide all of the necessary school supplies and a warm and nutritious daily lunch to students free of charge. All that families need to supply is a rucksack for books, a pencil case and appropriate clothes for outdoor and indoor exercise.
After sixth grade, children continue on to lower secondary school or grades 7 through 9. Before they finish their three years of lower secondary school, students in Finland must decide whether they wish to continue on to general upper secondary school or vocational school.
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