Science kindergarten visits the new Science Education Centre

The University of Helsinki LUMA Centre and AinO, a support network for subject-teacher students in the humanities, merged at the beginning of the year, forming a new University of Helsinki LumA Science Education Centre inaugurated on Tuesday, 14 February 2017.

The new Science Education Centre will provide a home for the University’s multidisciplinary science education and will continue to cooperate with various players in society. 

− We cater to and collaborate with families, schools, kindergartens, business and industry, says Professor Maija Aksela, PhD. Aksela is the director of the new Science Education Centre as well as its umbrella organisation, the national LUMA Centre Finland network.

Science education in science classes and clubs

ChemistryLab Gadolin at the Kumpula Campus is popular among visitors, but the University’s other science classes also host camps, clubs and other groups. Science education can take place online in virtual science clubs or at science camps organised at the beginning of the summer.

Planning for the summer camps is currently under way. Following the launch of the new Science Education Centre, the summer camps will be led by students of languages, mathematics and natural sciences and can thus offer participants an ever more diverse programme. The popular international camp will soon again fill Helsinki with accomplished upper secondary school pupils from around the world.

− The science community is closely involved in our activities, offering us the latest research information, says Maija Aksela.

Science education follows children

One of Maija Aksela’s long-lasting dreams will be introduced at the inauguration: the University of Helsinki’s own science kindergarten. It is still in the planning stages, but if funding is secured, development could take off quickly.

− The science kindergarten would serve as a training place for early childhood education practitioners and as an environment for researching and developing ideas as well as for showcasing Finnish competence to international guests, Aksela explains.

Science education as a national goal

The University of Helsinki’s Science Education Centre promotes the Ministry of Education and Culture’s objective of making Finland a world leader in science education by 2020.

According to a 2014 report published by the Ministry, science education, both at school and elsewhere, is a natural part of learning for children and young people. It greatly promotes creative problem-solving skills and the ability to understand and follow scientific development. Moreover, it supports competency-based growth in Finland and contributes to the societal impact of universities.