A new child-centered approach to the organization of extra-curricular activities in Finnish schools
Pulkkinen L., & Berden, I. (2017). A new child-centered approach to the organization of extra-curricular activities in Finnish schools. 2017 International Forum on After School, 131-160.
Published in2017 International Forum on After School
© The Authors & International Forum on After School, 2017
Extracurricular activities are currently included in Finnish school legislation, but their organization is fragmented. History: Club activities at school led by teachers have been arranged since 1947 on extra pay, but their amount and content have depended on available funding and often on teachers’ willingness to lead club activities. Schools have also had a possibility to use cultural or sport operators. However, system has preferred teacher-led club activities. A dramatic change occurred in the early 1990s when economic recession reduced extra funding for schools and day care. Consequently, club activities after school hours were reduced to less than half, and afternoon care services with the day care system for first-graders were totally cut. Students (from the age of seven years onwards) were often left unsupervised for several hours in mornings and afternoons due to their shorter school days compared to their parents’ work days. Development: The amendment of school legislation in 2004 mandated municipalities to organize (with private enterprises, church, associations, or schools) state-supported morning and afternoon activities for first- and second-graders and for children with special needs at any grade. For club activities, funding was improved in 2008-2014 so that 60% of students participated in some kind of extra-curricular activities at school. Present time: Funding of club activities dropped, when the Government of Finland for 2015- 2018 changed the strategy from supporting teacher-led club activities towards more child- centered and multi-professional way of organizing them. The Government started key programs in which children’s access to arts and culture is facilitated in schools by hearing students’ wishes, and physical activity during school days is arranged for one hour per day for each child. Artists and other experts are invited to participate in the arrangement of club activities. The organization of morning and afternoon activities is separate and based on the 2004 legislation, which meant a great improvement in children’s situation. Nevertheless, offering does not meet children’s needs, because municipalities are not obliged to organize morning and afternoon activities, and the quality control of activities is not sufficient. Legislation: A reform of school legislation is needed for integrating club activities, morning and afternoon activities, and school work into a wholeness which supports school work, encourages participation in extra-curricular activities, and increases well-being and satisfaction with school. Successful results have been received in a three-year experiment on the reform of the integrated school day structure and its activities, but transforming research findings into policy is still pending. ...
PublisherInternational Forum on After School
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