PIRKKALA KIRKONKYLÄ SCHOOL – ENTIRE SCHOOL WITH LEARNING ZONES
A school construction project inspired by FCLab.fi
Visiting a new school
Future classroom Ambassadors mr Mikko Horila and mr Tuomo Tammi from FCLab’s Tampere unit visited the new Pirkkala Kirkonkylä school on March 16, 2023. What makes this school visit very special, is the fact, that the Kirkonkylä school is the first “FCLab-school” in Finland!
The school’s officiating principal, mrs Marianne Tammi and the head of the education in Pirkkala municipality mr Mikko Salkinoja (former principal of the school) presented the newly commissioned facilities during a school tour. We were honored to witness, that the school project has been extremely successfull and our cooperation has been very beneficial.
How did it all happen?
One of the most important aspects of FCLab’s initial phase was to create a learning zone model suitable for the Finnish education system and curriculum. This model was launched in the spring of 2019 and it immediately aroused interest. One of those interested was Mikko Salkinoja, who was the principal of the Kirkonkylä school in Pirkkala at the time. In the june of 2019 mr Salkinoja contacted FCLab Tampere and we met in the August. That was a start of something, which eventually led to the situation we are in now – there is a a new school inspired by FCLab!
The cooperation with the principal and teachers of FCLab Tampere (KAKS10 56) and Pirkkala expanded into an interesting educational cooperation, where the staff of the planned school visited KAKS10 in 2019 and 2020 to consider the design of the premises, the cooperative model, co-teaching and their future operating model. FClab consulted and sparred e.g. determination of furniture, co-teaching. Pirkkala’s teachers were able to participate in the planning in its various stages very well, although not all of the ideas that came up could be implemented. One exceptional feature in Pirkkala’s case was that the school principal had a strong vision that teachers, as teaching professionals, would have a lot of say in decisions concerning the school. An architect simply cannot know the school’s practical operating methods and needs as well as a teacher.
A very successful result
The Kirkonkylä school construction project has now progressed from plans to completion and now the school is in full operation. The discussions we had with the school staff showed that they are very satisfied with the result.
From FCLab’s point of view, the most interesting feature of the project is that it is Finland’s first school based on learning zones. The whole school is based on the zone model of the learning environment and a different operating culture, which includes co-teaching and comprehensive cooperation. The result is stylish and functional; the premises are mainly light and spacious, thoughtfully demarcated/demarcatable and furnished suitable for their users.
In the cooperation between FCLab and Kirkonkylä School, we have managed to achieve the beginning of what the FCLab project aimed for in the early stages – to support school planning and as an executive sparring partner for change processes.
Kirkonkylä school is a school based entirely on Finland’s learning zones (FCLab.fi). The school has been designed under the leadership of principal Mikko Salkinoja and with the participation of teachers in accordance with its own well-thought-out operating culture.