Country living – innovative way

You start your journey from the city center and leave the neon lights behind you. After passing by several suburbs and after the last traffic lights and road lights you’re driving alone without seeing a single house on a journey through the swamps and forest. Suddenly you pump into a small village of 1500 inhabitants and see a lighted new modern school building like an oasis in the middle of the desert. That’s my school.

People usually think that all the good work and innovation happens only in the big cities or urban area. Most of the well-educated people seek to live near universities, big companies and vivid city life. That’s true but there´s a lot of people who prefer living close to the nature, having a lot of space around them and raising up their children traditionally allowing them to make their own decision whether to stay or go when grown up. I’m one of those kids myself who had a happy childhood in the countryside but chose to live in the city. Now I’m leading a school “in the middle of nowhere” – happily.

Thanks to the Finnish education system we have same resources than the schools everywhere else. We have excellent teachers at the school. Some of theme chose to live in the neighborhood and some chose to drive every day from the city center. All my teachers share the same passion as the other Finnish teachers do; have a dream career as a teacher in the best educational system in the world.

Countryside kids are made of tough ingredients and share the same values than their families. Honesty, respecting the nature and working with hands. That is how the original Maker culture is made of. If you don’t have tools – do it yourself, DIY. If you don’t have something – ask from the neighbor. One’s Trash, Another’s Treasure. Academic studies are not necessarily the main goal but our students are well employed as carpenters, nurses, construction workers etc. with a good attitude and respected as co-workers. Just under 20% of them choose high school and academic studies. These are the facts we have to respect and live with.

The whole working culture at the school is based on these elements. We offer emphasized learning for Arts and Handicrafts from the 3rd grade. We have a wide range of optional courses for the STEAM subjects for the lower secondary school students. We established and invested a lot for our STEAM learning environment to enable training skills for the future life like coding, programming, science, robotics, modern laser techniques and 3D printing. Are these kids the ones who revolutionize future working life and fill the empty cow houses and industrial halls that exist in rural areas in Finland? You can feel the atmosphere of innovation and excitement both in teachers and students when you walk on the corridors of our school and watch them working.

There is no area or a school that grey and dull that when you scratch the surface and start building a new working culture and doing it together with the teachers, students and families, you finally find a modern school that could be mapped anywhere in the world.

Our story can verify that. We have had a lot of visitors nationwide and from abroad getting to know the work and culture. Welcome to visit and get inspired! That might be the starting point of a success story of your own school.

Jukka Miettunen