Back to School

School in Pori started on Thursday, August 10th this year. Pupils were happy and excited for all sorts of reasons. First graders were naturally excited because they were stepping into their roles as primary school pupils. Other pupils were excited to see their friends again and see who their teacher would be this year. English Class fourth graders were happy to see their beloved teacher, Ms. Anu, waiting to greet them at their classroom door.

Ms. Anu had prepared exercises to help the fourth graders set the tone of the school year in a friendly, positive way. A positive learning environment is one in which everyone feels accepted for their likes and dislikes, for their similarities and their diversities.  When pupils feel accepted and respected by all, then learning can easily become the main objective.

School is Back in Session


After a nice long Christmas break English Class pupils returned to school on a very cold Monday morning ready to begin the Spring semester. After sharing their most memorable holiday experiences, pupils wasted no time getting down to the business of making good on resolutions to work hard and make the best of every learning experience.  From first grade to sixth grade, everyone settled down to make this the best year ever.


Thursday is traditionally the day when each English Class grade level has its spelling lesson. In the photo collage above second graders are writing down spelling words related to their environmental studies about the winter adaptations of animals.


With all of this earnest positivity and focus, these pupils are going to go far!


Welcome Back to School!

Ms. Leena, Ms. Kati, Ms. Anu, Mr. Juho, Mr. Gregg, Ms. Anneli and Ms. Sylvia

Ms. Leena, Ms. Kati, Ms. Anu, Mr. Juho, Mr. Gregg, Ms. Anneli and Ms. Sylvia welcome English Class pupils

Teachers and pupils alike were excited this morning as we began yet another school year in the English Classes at Cygnaeus School. All seventeen of the first graders formed a line behind their teacher, Ms. Leena, and walked purposefully and proudly into their classroom. Smiles and hugs were exchanged between the older pupils as they grouped outside their classroom doors.

To start this school year, each English Class teacher wanted to introduce her-/himself to readers of the blog, families and friends.

school planner

This is the lovely cover that Ms. Leena created for her teacher’s planner!

Ms. Leena writes: My name is Leena Salminen. Today I started an exciting journey with my new class of first graders. I am looking forward to all the adventures that we have ahead of us. These children are bursting with enthusiasm and imagination which  is quite contagious and very charming!Being the mother of two, I love spending time with my family. I am always eager to learn new things both at work as well as in my free time. The newest hobby in my life is playing golf, but dance has always had an important place in my heart.

Ms. Kati writes:  My name is Kati Peltonen and I teach second grade this year. I love languages and travelling. These passions are connected to my work as well, which is just perfect. As a teacher I’m always eager to try new things and different ways of working in the classroom. I enjoy reading and try to pass this bookworm attitude on to my pupils as well. After work I often grab a book and relax or go for a walk and meet my friends. I also do Ashtanga yoga and recently started a new hobby, Crossfit.

Ms. Anu writes:  My name is Anu Pusa. I am the vice headmaster at Cygnaeus School and also the teacher of grade 3.  It’s my 10th anniversary as a teacher at English Classes. As a teacher I love challenging not only my pupils, but myself as well. I am always eager to try new things at my work and also in my private life.  My family and all kinds of sports are close to my heart. My hobbies include jogging and working out with a kettle bell. I am excited to start another new school year with our great staff!

Mr. Juho writes: My name is Juho Toivola. I’m an almost middle aged teacher,  father of two daughters and owner of a crazy dog. I started my working career at Cygnaeus School six years ago and a year ago I became one of the teachers in the English Classes. Here I am, teaching the fourth grade class. Every day is different and that’s why I like my job.

Mr. Gregg writes:   I’m  Gregg Adams, an Englishman living in Finland with my young, bilingual family. I’m passionate about football, science and having fun. I worked at Cygnaeus during 2012/13 so I know the school and most of the pupils well. I will be encouraging a strong team mentality amongst the 5EN class members.  We will learn together, have fun together and treat each other with the respect, kindness and compassion that we all deserve. I know that everybody is different, and we all learn in different ways, so it’s my job to ensure everybody is valued and no one is left behind. This term is going to be an explosion of learning for both the students and myself, and I can’t wait to get started. I’m an open and honest person, so anyone can approach me about anything and I’ll always do my best to help.

Ms. Anneli writes: My name is Anneli Saukkokoski-Lehti and I am teaching the English Class 6th grade class this year. In addition to finding new perspectives on teaching, I am looking forward to learning from my class, as well as my colleagues. My hobbies are cross country skiing, reading and recently I have taken up horseback riding.

It is a privilege and honour to be teaching in the same school where I once started my own school path. I would like to add that my daughter, Katri, also started her school journey at Cygnaeus School fifteen years ago in the very first 1st grade class of the English Classes. 

Ms. Sylvia writes: My name is Sylvia Saila-Kuusman and I am considered to be the mother of the English Classes. For the past fifteen years I have taught many amazingly diverse, creative and talented children in the English Classes. This year I am working as a resource teacher, which means that I will be able to be involved in lots of different ways with our whole community of teachers and pupils. I am also the person behind this blog. 

One of my favourite quotes is, ‘I have lived a thousand lives and I’ve loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. -Because I read.‘ That quote by George RR Martin relates to what I do at every opportunity, that is, I read. I also love sailing and adventuring with my husband, not to mention spending time with any -and all- of our seven grandchildren (all of whom are presently attending the English Classes, or have already completed all six grade levels of the English Classes here at Cygnaeus School). 

Each and all of us teachers want to take this opportunity to welcome you to another year of innovative learning with the English Classes!

School is Back in Session!


It was a frenzied hour for some English Class teachers before the school bell rang this morning to mark the beginning of a brand new school year.  The English Class teachers for the school year 2015-16 are from right to left in the upright photo above: Ms. Kati for first grade, Ms. Anu for second grade, Mr. Juho for third grade, Ms. Leena for fourth grade, Ms. Katri for fifth grade, Ms. Sandra for sixth grade and Ms. Sylvia as a resource teacher for all of the English Classes.


The first day of school was naturally exciting for everyone, but particularly for our first graders. English Class fifth grade peer pals acted as guides to show our new first graders around the school. In the first two pictures on the left in the collage above Ms. Kati and Ms. Katri are helping the pupils to form groups. The sixth graders in the photo on the right got right down to business and started solving volume problems  in math class by calculating in their heads.


English Class second graders started the day off with circle time and reviewed calendar skills. The fourth graders were given toilet paper. The number of sheets that each pupil had determined how many things about summer activities s/he shared with the class.  Outside on the playground the fourth graders demonstrated their cooperative partnering skills when they were challenged to transporting sticks of uncooked spaghetti between paper plates. English Class fifth graders spent time getting to know their new teacher, Ms. Katri.