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Classroom design has helped make Finland’s schools an international success

The Finnish education system has long been considered one of the best in the world. Regularly outperforming larger countries with much larger education budget, Finland has relied on innovative approaches to schooling to provide the very best education for its students. Currently officially ranked as the best education system in Europe and fifth best in the world, many believe Finland offers the best education available.

Saunalahti school architectureImage Credit: Flickr – HelMet-kirjasto

At the very cornerstone of this education system is classroom design: Finland’s schools implement innovative layouts, which are far removed from traditional classroom set up. Reimagining classroom design has allowed Finnish schools to radically reform how students are educated – helping provide individual support and effective collaboration.

One of the mantras of the Finnish education system is that ‘better architecture contributes to better scholastic experience’.

Saunalahti schoolImage Credit: Saunalahti school, Htm

Amongst the more unique and unusual classroom designs are those inside the Saunalahti School, just outside of Helsinki. The huge open spaces for primary and secondary school-age pupils have become ‘living rooms’ for the town of Espoo – combining classrooms with community areas.

The classrooms within the school have been designed to promote collaboration between students, teachers and the community as a whole. This can help inspire primary research and unique, independent learning. With students in mind, the classrooms can also support those who find traditional learning spaces to be inhibiting and daunting.

The school’s architect, Ilkka Salminen, explained: “[The classrooms] were built primarily to support the pedagogical idea of the school. Some students don’t feel comfortable in a [traditional] classroom. Every interior and exterior space is a potential place for learning.”

Saunalahti school buildingImage Credit: Saunalahti school, Htm

All aspects of the design are targeted towards inspiring a love of learning within the students. Salminen continued: “We think that inspiring architecture may give a child a positive drive for growing up and learning things and turn the learning moments into thrilling experiences.”

This fluid approach to school and classroom design will be complemented by the Finnish education system’s upcoming policy change, with the country set to completely overhaul the approach to learning. Finland is set to substitute ‘subjects’ for ‘topics’ to accommodate changing student requirements.

Standard subjects such as history or geography are being phased out in favour of specific topics such a ‘cafeteria services’ which incorporates elements of maths, languages, writing and communication. This change in approach will naturally have an impact on the way in which schools approach classroom design.

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If you are looking to transform the classrooms in your school, we offer either a furniture-only installation or full turnkey solution from initial design, manufacture to completion. To find out how Innova can enhance your educational interior, visit our case studies page, or call us on 0161 477 5300.