Private preschool in Franklin looks to open a kindergarten in 2023

·2 min read
HEI Schools is a Finnish education company opening its first U.S. location in Franklin, Tenn.
HEI Schools is a Finnish education company opening its first U.S. location in Franklin, Tenn.

HEI Schools Franklin is making some changes to its offerings over the next year.

The small private preschool opened last year, becoming the first and only HEI school in the United States.

After a successful first year, the school is transitioning from a half-day Spanish immersion program to a full-day this coming year, making it the only full immersion program in Williamson County.

Its staff is also working to add a kindergarten by the fall 2023.

HEI Nashville liaison Jennifer Santana said the idea came from parents of current students who said they wished to keep their children in the school beyond preschool.

Finnish education company HEI Schools opened its first U.S. preschool in Franklin in 2021. Now it's working to add a kindergarten next year.
Finnish education company HEI Schools opened its first U.S. preschool in Franklin in 2021. Now it's working to add a kindergarten next year.

"(They) told us they've looked at other kindergartens but they feel like the child has really embraced this model of learning and that they really want to keep the child (at HEI Franklin), but they've aged out," Santana said. "We've given them some information to continue doing school with materials that we use. ... But it's not the same."

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So HEI Schools Franklin is already seeking families interested in enrolling kindergarten students. Families interested in being a part of the program, even a year from now, are encouraged to act fast.

With around seven slots left to fill for a total of 11 students, a full pre-enrolled roster of students hoping to be a part of the class in 2023 will help the administration gain the accreditation necessary to start a private kindergarten from the Tennessee Department of Education when the window for applications opens in January 2023.

"We figured we would look into it, and it turned out it's doable," Santana said. "We've got the energy and the teachers are excited. So we're going to do it."

Once that's done, Santana and her team hope to addi first and second grades.

HEI Schools emphasizes a play-based approach to learning. Each school typically offers bilingual instruction. The Franklin site offers a Spanish program.
HEI Schools emphasizes a play-based approach to learning. Each school typically offers bilingual instruction. The Franklin site offers a Spanish program.

About HEI Schools Franklin

All Helsinki International Schools worldwide run with research-based teaching methods and learning environments based on the Finnish National Core Curriculum. HEI Schools was co-founded by the University of Helsinki and education and design experts, according to its website.

Its early childhood curriculum, also used at schools in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Australia, emphasizes a play, inquiry and project-based approach to learning.

Each school typically offers bilingual instruction. The Franklin site offers a Spanish program, employing teachers that are fluent in Spanish.

For more information on HEI Schools, its curriculum, or how you can enroll your child, visit heifranklin.com.

Anika Exum is a reporter covering Williamson County at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today Network — Tennessee. Reach her at aexum@tennessean.com, 615-347-7313, or on Twitter @aniexum.

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This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: HEI Schools Franklin plans to open a kindergarten in 2023