Liisa Pohjolainen, Executive Director of Education, City of Helsinki
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Whole city as a learning environment
What is Whole city as a learning environment?
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.