school spaces

Thanks to Bonnie Kaplan, here is a collection of shots from the schools I have been spending time in. They illustrate what the typical schools look like -comprised of open areas flooded with bright outside light, clean community spaces, and with inviting areas for students to relax and chat during the 15 minute breaks they get between classes.  Rather than describe each one, I will let the pictures speak for themselves:

school1 school2 school3 school4 school5 school6 school7 school8 school9 school10 school11 school12 school13 school16

school14 school15

school20 school21 school22 school23 school24 schools25 schools26 schools27 schools28 schools29 schools31 schools32 schools33

About christine mccartney

I am a teacher, a wife, a proud aunt, a dog rescuer, a person who has been rescued by my rescued dogs, a hiker, a four time (phew!) cancer survivor, a runner, a tattoo addict, a vegetarian, an advocate, a friend and a happy traveller. Enjoy!
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19 Responses to school spaces

  1. mere says:

    There are two University of Maryland flags in one picture!? 😛 Are there good universities in Finland, or do most attend US colleges?

  2. Jonathan says:

    Did one of the students actually write “Sweden” in the “What’s bad?” column…? LOL!

  3. Fantabulous spaces!! And it matters SO much!

  4. lsurrett2 says:

    I am deeply impressed. The indoor greenhouse is fantastic, and I’m intrigued by the removal of shoes. What a cool experience!

  5. Richard DiNardo says:

    The photos were most interesting. The school looked to me to be of relatively new construction. When was it built?

    • Richard,
      They are actually a collection of photos from five different schools. In fact, most of the schools I visited (even those way up north above the arctic circle) have had a similar feel. I am not sure when they were built, obviously post-war; I know that following the Second World War, municipalities and towns all over the country embarked on a major effort to rebuild schools that had been destroyed and build new ones where none had existed -but I would say that outside of Helsinki, there is a great deal of suburban sprawl and most of the schools I have been in were probably from the last three decades.
      I am glad to have the opportunity to exchange ideas with you…especially because I am going to St. Petersburg Wednesday evening. Thursday is a National holiday, so everything is closed, but I am going on a boat cruise to watch fireworks at night. On Friday, I am seeing a ballet at the Mariinskiy, which I am very much looking forward to as well. That leaves only Friday during the day and Saturday for both The Hermitage and checking out any Dostoevsky landmarks (at the very least his grave and possibly apartment, although I know it will be sooo touristy). Any suggestions on the best way to approach exploring the Hermitage? It seems to vast, I am not sure where I should start!
      Luckily, I am returning later in the month with my cousin, Mike, when he comes to visit, so I will not feel too pressured to cram it all in 🙂
      All best, Christine

  6. Camille says:

    A far cry from our factory-like schools! The beautiful light and clean design is conducive to creativity and clarity. Uncluttered spaces = uncluttered minds — it the concept behind fung shui.

  7. Tara says:

    What wonderful spaces in which to teach and learn. Inspiring!

  8. says:

    Love it! Can you take some pics with the students present…playing ping pong or gardening? I ain’t my kids to see it.

  9. Scott Siddle says:

    One word…AMAZING!

  10. Gail Caldwell says:

    I am struck by the cleanliness factor and the greenery. All of that has to contribute to a sense of safety and serenity. It would be wonderful if our students could have even a little bit of that . I am so thrilled for you to have this experience. The students, have in you, a great mentor as well as an example of what is positive here.

  11. Allan G. Smorra says:

    This reminds me of an Apple Store — no clutter. Thanks for sharing these photos and your experience in Finland.

  12. The décor accentuates the respect Finland has for education, for learning, for teachers, and for its future. What is your perception of teaching students in another country? Did they embrace your methology and intellectual spirit? I love this experience for you!!!!

    • Yeah, every time I go in a cafeteria and see the students eating food made from scratch on premises with real silverware, ceramic plates and real glass cups, I get a little sad about what our students are offered daily. Our kitchen staff does wonders WITH WHAT IS AVAILABLE TO THEM, but there is something lacking in reheated, processed food and styrofoam trays…
      I wouldn’t really say I was “teaching” per se, more just participating in English language lessons by trying to have authentic dialogues with students… it was interesting, a lot of them wanted to talk about guns in America, NHL hockey and Justin Bieber (who isn’t even American, I learned, but rather Canadian…who knew…)
      I did get to see an AMAZING teacher in Helsinki yesterday though, which was nice.

      • anonymous says:

        I think the schools spend under 2€ per student per day. It’s not that expensive. In fact, it’s a bit of an embarrasment how little the schools are spending, because at some point the quality is going to suffer.

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