By Johanna Illman, Tako, Finland
In the village of Fiskars, Finland, the local school already provides an extended learning environment but it is now being further developed: it will also serve as an adult education centre, thereby contributing to community development.
Fiskars is a village 100 km west of Helsinki, near the newly formed town and municipality of Raseborg. Its school has been used as an extended learning environment for several years and is a good example of how to benefit from the knowledge and skills of local professionals other than the school staff. About a sixth of the villagers are designers, artists or craftsmen. It was therefore decided to make the most of their know-how by creating workshops; these have been designed according to the age of participants and the school curriculum. A programme offering seven workshops (carpentry, paper making, textile design, ceramics, smithery, glassblowing and modern art) is now a permanent part of the school curriculum.
An outdoor classroom.
© Fiskars Learning Environment Project
The school and the village are now extending their collaboration as Tako, the local non-governmental organisation, is establishing an adult educational centre in the village. The NGO has bought the old school building situated next to the primary school and, thanks to external funding, will renovate it. The building will still be used by the school for its art classes, but also by the educational centre for further education courses in the fields of art, design and crafts. These will cater for art teachers at primary and secondary schools in the municipality. Through collaboration with further education national training organisations, courses will also be arranged for teachers in other municipalities. Further education will also be available to professionals and students of creative industries.
Fiskars relies heavily on tourism: some 150 000 people visit the village in the summer and this constitutes the town’s main economic driver. By creating an education centre, not only will this initiative ensure livelihood diversification, but it will create new job opportunities for the village craftsmen, thereby generating welcome complementary sources of income.
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