Helsinki Day sees the launch of the Culture nurtures! series of events for early childhoodeducation-aged children

Children in daycare centres got to participate in Culture nurtures! activities for the first time on Helsinki Day. Organised by the Helsinki Events Foundation, Culture nurtures! is aimed at children in early childhood education and pre-primary education. Consisting of several hands-on activities, the series of events introduces children to various art and cultural events and themes which the children get to explore and contribute to.

Contents of the Culture nurtures! series of events are built around the events organised by the Helsinki Events Foundation, such as Helsinki Day, or the birthday of the City of Helsinki, Helsinki Festival, Night of the Arts, Helsinki Baltic Herring Market, or the oldest market in Finland, and the light festival Lux Helsinki. Helsinki Day materials were distributed to daycare centres in Helsinki during the spring. Materials for other Culture nurtures! events will be finalised later with the next event being the Helsinki Festival, which is celebrated in August and September.

“Daycare centres have a long history of celebrating different seasonal events, such as
harvest festivals and the weeks of light in the winter. Helsinki Day activities provide early childhood educators with comprehensive ideas for exploring these themes, such as the Miracle of Growth in the spring, in an age-appropriate manner. In addition to activities that can be done in daycare centres, Culture nurtures! also provides ideas for excursions”, Emmy Sainio, a daycare centre teacher at Daycare Hopealaakso, says.

Activities that support the curriculum for early childhood education

Culture nurtures! supports the values and objectives of the curricula for early childhood education and pre-primary education in Helsinki and complements the cultural route of Helsinki by providing information and activities along the route. Culture nurtures! also contains activities centred on education for sustainable development, which support the sustainability efforts of the City of Helsinki and tie into the KETTU (FOX) model for sustainable future. Culture nurtures! supports the principles of the City of Helsinki’s cultural education plan and the Helsinki City Strategy and provides equal opportunities for enjoying culture across the city.

The activities presented in the materials are clearly linked to the objectives of the plans and educational themes as well as to the applicable KETTU activities.

“Using the Culture nurtures! materials has been easy and straightforward. The educational themes to which the activities are linked are marked clearly, which makes pedagogical planning easier”, Sainio, who has already used the materials, explains.

Helsinki Day materials put to good use in daycare centres across Helsinki

Widely celebrated across Helsinki on Monday 12 June, Helsinki Day inspired daycare centres in Helsinki to organise Culture nurtures! activities. The Helsinki Events Foundation invited daycare centres to explore Helsinki Day events with invitations decorated with wild pansy seeds. At Daycare Hopealaakso, which is located in Kruunuvuorenranta, the youngest children sowed the seeds outside the daycare centre.

Early childhood specialists of Daycare Hopealaakso used the Helsinki Day activities to explore Helsinki Day traditions, such as the morning coffee and rhubarb pie offered by the Mayor of Helsinki, the Helsinki Day baby in film format and the Golden Helsinki Medals, which are awarded to accomplished citizens of Helsinki. Children who attend the daycare centre had the opportunity to make their own Golden Helsinki Medals.

“Baking the rhubarb pie tied into the food education programme of the Finnish Heart Association, which our daycare centre has actively participated in. The baking activity tied into Helsinki Day was added to the early childhood education pedagogical plan, which was prepared together with the staff of Palvelukeskus Helsinki”, Päivi Toivonen, Deputy Director of Daycare Hopealaakso, explains.

There are a total of 14 different Culture nurtures! activities related to the Helsinki Day, and the activities are further divided into the Explore! and Do! categories. Moreover, there are Helsinki Day activities which are especially intended for early childhood education-aged children. These are compiled under the Welcome! section. The activities have been designed to consider the unique and different resources of different daycare groups. The team behind the activities collected ideas and feedback directly from daycare centre teachers, and experts of the City of Helsinki Education Division reviewed the ideas and feedback. The activities can be easily adjusted to suit the needs of individual daycare groups.

Objective: to bring cultural events to early childhood education-aged children

“Here at the Helsinki Events Foundation, we have wanted to create something that would allow as many children as possible to enjoy the various art and cultural events and content – or their own cultural heritage – that the City of Helsinki offers. The key has been to create something that everyone can utilise in a manner that best suits them. Participants can pick and choose what they want to do, or, alternatively, they can use our offering to build a large-scale event, such as a whole day full of different activities. The activities allow children to explore culture at home, although we do urge everyone to visit different events in person!

We hope that the children and staff of daycare centres find the activities enjoyable and
useful. The activities are geared towards the daycare setting, but they can be used in family daycare and playgrounds as well – or even by schools and families”, Sanjaana Gavalas, Executive Producer of Culture nurtures! at Helsinki Events Foundation, says.