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In Helsinki, the whole city is viewed as a learning environment in which learners and teachers can move around freely and learn about real phenomena in an authentic environment

Whole city as a learning environment

Helsinki, Finland
The whole City of Helsinki can be regarded as a large learning environment in which learners work actively. Instead of learning taking place only at school and in the classroom during the school day, learning is now viewed as something tied neither to time or place. Because the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority offers free transport to basic education groups and their teachers during school hours, no costs are involved in travelling to the sources of authentic phenomena.
Introduction

What is Whole city as a learning environment?

“Helsinki is our learning environment. Even in kindergartens children go outside the classrooms and can learn in museums, theatres, libraries, streets and everywhere in the city.”

Liisa Pohjolainen, Executive Director of Education, City of Helsinki

Helsinki wants to make the learner's role more active than previously: in this way, you can emphasise a learner's ownership of their own learning. To achieve this target, it is crucial to learn through authentic phenomena. Because the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority offers free transport to basic education groups and their teachers during school hours, no costs are involved in travelling to the sources of authentic phenomena. Digital applications, devices and platforms enable learning and the related work outside as well as inside the classroom.

A diverse natural environment, cultural history and cooperation with various sectors offer a rich learning environment for learners of all ages. All of the city's parks, playgrounds, museums, theatres, cultural buildings and libraries are learning environments. In Helsinki, nature is nearby and available. The city's nature schools are very popular. There are forest pre-schools where, as a rule, everything is done out of doors.


When learning moves out into the surrounding society and close to world phenomena, deeper learning occurs and the learning process is connected to the learner's own world. This also means less sitting in a classroom and more exercise than previously. Learners have taken part in film-making and joint productions have been created with the city orchestra and National Opera. The city's sports-oriented schools also work in close cooperation with sports clubs and federations and the Olympic Committee; it is not uncommon to cooperate closely with other cultural and leisure time actors.

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Innovation Overview
1 - 18
Age Group
100 000
Children/Users
1
Country
2016
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
76
Views
Tips for implementation
Easy way of going from one place to another is important when considering that learning happens all over the city. In Helsinki, teachers and students get public transportation with no cost during school hours.
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