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A model to provide education that molds to the student


Sipoo, Finland
NEST is a model that helps you provide instruction that keeps every student on top of their studies. It considers students' different circumstances and needs.

Mistä on kyse?

“Students shouldn't have to change in order to fit in at school. Instruction and support should adapt to fit them.”

- Pipsa Lainas, teacher, Sipoonlahti comprehensive school

Marginalization and school drop-outs pose a serious challenge to youth and their effects can ripple throughout their lives as they grow up. This is why schools should have the tools to ensure that no child is left behind and prevent youth exclusion.

Young people at risk of exclusion need personalized learning methods and schools don't always meet this need. We need new ways to make schools meaningful and appealing.

The NEST model allows young people to study at their own pace which in turn helps them find study motivation. The model is built on the idea that schools should mold to the students' needs, not the other way around.

NEST stands for: needs, education, strength, taking care.

The students who are chosen for NEST form a group of 10–12. They are led by a teacher and a instructor experienced in youth growth and development. The model was developed at Sipoonlahti comprehensive school where the group's instructor is a trained psychiatric nurse.

The model supports especially those students who have multiple absences due to an illness, traveling or another reason that makes learning more difficult. Often this may be anxiety that is manifested as difficulties concentrating on studying in a large class.

Students can attend NEST either part-time or full-time. The teacher instructs the full-time students in all humanities and natural sciences collaborating with the subject teachers. They aim to form larger modules out of subjects so the learning content is enjoyable for the students. The students should preferably study art and physical education and optional subjects together in a large group.

NEST has also been open to all students who have wanted to learn calmly in a quiet, small group.

Students are able to apply to NEST and request the type of support they require in their studies. The school asks the students what they need to feel better at school, reach better learning results and, above all, to participate in school. They interview each student and contact their parents.

After launching NEST in the fall of 2016, every student at Sipoonlahti has re-committed to school and school drop-outs have practically disappeared.

The NEST principles:

  • Dismantling roadblocks to learning. Multiprofessional collaboration is becoming a part of everyday school activities, as well.
  • Learning at one's own pace. The learning contents are packaged as modules that the students can work on at their own pace in different environments. If the students are unable to study at school, they can do the exercises at home or hospital schools, for example.
  • Documenting the studies fastidiously. You should record the student's progress somewhere you can all track with ease, because the actual studying is independent.
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Innovation Overview
13 - 16
Age Group
Tips for implementation
Regular learning materials.
Connect with innovator
HundrED Review

The NEST classroom and lessons combine multiprofessional collaboration with flexible and personalized studying.


The model has practically eliminated school drop-outs.


Systems that are able to define learning objectives according to the individual can adopt the model.


Achievements & Awards


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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Appointing a teacher-instructor working pair
The NEST model should have a working pair of a teacher and an instructor. It is imperative that the working pair works well together because their energy is reflected on the students. The pair should divide the responsibilities so both can utilize their professional expertise.
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Presenting the students with the principles of NEST
At the start of the school year, the school presents all students with the principles of NEST. Students can apply to NEST or their teacher or guardian can recommend them for the program. Some students are recommended by student welfare.
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Interviewing the students, mapping the need for support and th...
When a student expresses interest in NEST, they are interviewed, their needs for support are mapped out, after which the NEST students are selected.
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Creating structure: planning the day, curricula
After the NEST selections, the group finalizes the students' curricula. The goal is to hold most classes as NEST lessons. This allows the students to be together with the rest of the NEST group.
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Recording the progress
Every student should have a folder on them, either a traditional or electric one. It documents their progress. Project-based modules are the basis for the studies and when the students finish a module the teacher goes through their work with the student.
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Creating a model of continual assessment
Continual assessment is an important aspect of the NEST model. Assessment methods should be varied and not purely test-based. The student's research and study skills are the most important thing.
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