Strange things are happening at the University of Helsinki: A fairytale forest has grown into the Playful Learning Center! Spirits, trolls and elves are hiding in the forest – one disguised as a tree, another as a stone. But what happens when the king of the forest, honey-paw, comes to visit? Whatever you do, do not call it a bear!
Stories, science and art
The new look rises from Finnish myths and stories. We hope this unique and novel interior will inspire children and adults to engage in joint imagining and learning through stories, science and art.
The Playful Learning Center is located at the Faculty of Education at the University of Helsinki. The facilities include a novel learning environment, “a playground”, for research and development activities. The center was founded in 2014. Many research and development programmes, funded by the Academy of Finland, the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finnish National Agency for Education and EU-HORIZON-programmes operate in the Playful Learning Center.
Playful Learning Center collaborates with both Finnish and international researchers, in addition to children and educational professionals. important partners include Aalto-university and municipalities in Finland as well as the University of Oslo, The University of Sheffield, Cambridge University, Northwestern University, and the universities in Queensland, Deakin and Wollong. Broad EU-projects connect the Playful Learning Center with European research and collaboration and teacher-training. On a yearly basis the center is visited by numerous researchers, teachers, developers and officials from all around the world.
One of the center’s main research and development programmes focuses on multiliteracies among children. The Joy of Learning Multiliteracies (MOI) programme is designed to increase present day research knowledge on the enhancement of multiliteracies among young children aged 0–8. It entails professional development and collaboration among professionals working in early childhood education, pre-school and the initial stages of primary education (years 1 and 2 of Finnish compulsory schooling), as well as in the library and cultural sector. The aim of the MOI programme is to develop models (i.e. learning environments and pedagogies) that can boost children’s multiliteracies and reinforce expertise among personnel working with children educational and cultural institutions. This multidisciplinary development programme addresses cultural and gender-related inequalities. It aims to promote every child’s learning opportunities in the area of multiliteracies.