We are Lieke from the Netherlands and I’m studying pedagogy there and here Social services and Laia from Spain and I’m studying Early childhood education and here also Social services. We are international exchange students at the HAMK university in Hämeenlinna. We are doing a project, where we are supposed to go visit different places that includes children and their parents. Nipsula was a great place to be in contact with children and also with their parents and see the differences between Finland and our home countries. We have been in Nipsula for six times doing different activities with the children and their parents.
We have done some music activity in Nipsula: we had different instruments on the floor for the children to try out and create different sounds. Meanwhile we had some songs on the TV, that they could listen to and play the instruments. The first song was a Finnish song, called Viisi Pientä Ankkaa. The second song that we played, was a typical Dutch song called ‘Klap eens in je handjes’. In this song you can make a sound with your own body and learn about body parts. The goals that we thought about for these activities were that the children explore different instruments and sounds, knows how to work together and know when it’s your turn to play the instrument and being able to listen to the song at the same time as using the instrument. The goal was also to be coordinate with the others and be able to choose the instrument that they like the most. Afterwards we played more Finnish songs because the children were really enjoying them.
One thursday we started doing art with the families by doing a handtree. The goal was to empower the connection between the parent and their child(ren) and when it is all finished, they will have a beautiful memory of their time in Nipsula, in the wall of Nipsula.
In another Thursday, we had a sensory and sport day in Nipsula. The goal was to know the difference between hands and feet and how to use them in same time. The children had to follow the circuit and tried walking in different surfaces and know how to follow our instructions. We made the circuit with balls, the slide, the tunnels, rubber hands and feet. In the circuit children could climb, run, and play with different type of balls. Because every ball has a different size and texture, so the children were very excited about the ‘playground’. The children really liked the energic day, they were all walking and running around and they were really trying all the parts of the circuit on different times.
We had a fun day where we discovered some mess friendly new materials with the families. We made different bags, one filled with soap, the other with macaroni and the last one with sand. We filled these bags with some pearls and other objects for the children to find in these bags. The second activity of the day was that the children could paint, but this was also mess friendly as we put the piece of paper with paint inside the plastic bag. Some children thought it was strange, that you could paint without getting the hands dirty: they tried to paint and then looked at their hands like what’s happening. The final activity of the day was a group activity where we played with the playingparachute, the parents and we we’re standing and moving the parachute and the kids where running underneath it. The goals for this day was that the children could try to feel the differences between the plastic bags and the materials, that they used their hands to create forms in the bag and that they would wait for their turn to use the different bags and finally know how to play all together with the playingparachute.
We also baked cookies with the kids in Nipsula and it was an activity to be calm and have some fun. When they didn’t bake, we’ve set up a room for balls, the slight, the tunnel where they can play. The goals of this day was for working together, have a nice morning between the kids, parents and teachers and explore another type of art, in this case food art. This activity was planned to be a different activity that doesn’t happen every week and maybe families don’t make it every week at home.
When it was our last day in Nipsula, we planned a multiactivity day. We made a circuit with balloons in different colours where they could throw and catch those. We also had some balls, the slight and the tunnels for the kids to use. We also played with soapbubbles: we blowed the bubbles and for the eldest one’s they tried to do it on their own, this was one of our goals for them. For our last activity we played again with the playingparachute, because the children really liked it and had a really nice time. The goals for this day were eye and hand coordination because they have throw and look at the balloon for example, and try to catch it with their hands. The youngest one’s learnt how to throw and catch the balloons. We also tried to work together by being careful with each other.
We found Nipsula to be a really nice place to work and to learn about Finnish education and their way of doing activities with different families. We don’t see this often in our home countries, so it was a really good opportunity to discover this kind of places. We learned how to be in contact with the parents and the children in the same time and also know how to communicate with the children even though that we don’t speak Finnish. We hope that you really enjoyed our activities and our presence of being in Nipsula. We hope to see you again someday!
Laia & Lieke, January-February 2023