In September 2008 the Lintulampi Primary School in Oulu district of Höyhtyä started a three-year learning environment project called INSIGHT! financed by the Ministry of Education. The project is a pilot in Finland and its main goal is to develop the physical school environment and the Lintulampi primary school National Curriculum of architecture, design and handicraft and also to devise a teaching practice. In the project the main role is taken by artist godfathers who run workshops for school children. I am one of the nine artists. I am an architect and I am working in City of Oulu Technical center Town Design department. Other artists are a designers of interior, furniture and clothing, and a sculptors, a textile artist.
In autumn 2008 I started workshops for the schoolyard design with the pupils. First, third, fifth and sixth grades – participated in the design work. All the workshops were a bit different with every class depending on their skills. To start of my workshops I gave to the each class a pre-tasks to do by themselves. Like the first year pupils picked out the places that they didn’t like, places which needed to be fixed up and places they liked. The third grade pupils were using different senses like hearing, feeling, seeing and smelling to collect information on the yard. Afterwards they draw maps on it. The fifth class mapped the information on the schoolyard like what kind of green things, textures, furniture, equipment or functions they have, how many and what is their condition. The sixth grade pupils made video interviews, inquiries with other students, teachers and the school staff. They were asking how they felt bout their schoolyard, what was good and what should be changed.
After the pre-tasks every first grade pupil built up two scale models, one of a bad place and the other one of a good place. The places didn’t need to be in the schoolyard. In the end we combined all the models forming together new ideas for the schoolyard. The third grade pupils were designed and built scale models of playground that will bring friends together. First they made a sketch and after that they built up a scale model and made a short film presentation about it. The fifth grade pupils designed furniture for schoolyards. Based on the best ideas the class with their teacher built up a scale model in scale 1:200 of their new schoolyard with the school building. The sixth grade pupils designed and improved the schoolyard functions, equipment colours and materials with sketches in groups. After designing they built up models of their schoolyard. When every workshop was ready we had an exhibition for other pupils, teachers and staff of what we had been working on.
With all this we participated in The School Yard competition of the Green Year 2008. There we named schoolyard project Insight in the Lintulampi Schoolyard! (in Finnish Pihaoivallus!) There we got the special honourable mention because the work had involved the whole school in developing and designing together their schoolyard. We also participated in another competition called Ampiainen Remix which wanted to have extra new ideas on how to bring different kind of people together in places. There we got the first two awards.
The next step will be to integrate all the material and prepare the plan of the schoolyard with a small group of pupils. After that they will have a presentation for the decision-makers and house manager to make them understand this project and how important it is to develop learning environments and to show school children that they are able to contribute to their environment. Also we are going to apply scholarships for the implementation and work on smaller parts of the yard by ourselves.