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How to promote science and technology in kindergartens?

Helsinki-based Little Heroes International Kindergarten sought support for science education. They found the LUMA2020 program produced by the LUMA Center for Universities in Finland and funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. The program inspires both teachers and children to the world of math, science, and technology. We met the kindergarten director Annika Hätönen, who shares the best tips for others in this story.

A network of Finnish universities offers diverse and free content of science for kindergartens. - It is definitely worth taking advantage of the offer, Annika Hätönen encourages.

Annika's three tips on math, science and technology:

  • Where can I find information? Information on the LUMA Center can be found online at LUMA homepage and LUMA News for the international audience. The LUMA2020 program is available in Finnish and Swedish. Aalto University offers a free Junior-lab workshop for kindergartens, where you can find more information in Finnish here. The workshop can also be ordered for kindergarten. The University of Helsinki also has a similar unit on the Kumpula campus. The Kumpula campus also has the Finnish Meteorological Institute, whose yard district is already a nice place to visit.

  • How long does the LUMA2020 program last? The program will run until the end of 2021. The project is intended for everyone in Finland, not just the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

  • How to get into the world of math, science and technology? It is worth following the projects of universities and, for example, the LUMA website. You can apply to join the Aalto University Junior-lab workshop. Annika emphasizes that booking a workshop is not difficult, you just have to make your own plans in time. And even if a workshop is not booked, the university will also provide instructions and borrow material.

Little Heroes International Kindergarten has been involved in the LUMA2020 project implemented by the Finnish universities this year. Two kindergarten teachers participated in the LUMA training. There were four themes to choose from: My LUMA, Math Around Me, Technology and Sustainability.

Annika felt that she needed the most support in technology and wondered how she could bring technology into the daycare. Through the project, she has gained direct technology expertise as well as a lot of ideas. Inspired by the training, Annika brought a few small things to kindergarten. In music education, they included the Garage Band application, where children had a chance to compose, invent lyrics, and sing themselves. Coding was practiced in the sport class. The kindergarten now also has a real green screen and with the help of that, they make videos with children on iMovie.

Kindergarten science education has become much more diverse with the LUMA program. Mathematics is now strongly involved in music education as well. Phenomena of everyday physics have been linked to sports and exercise. Among other things, it is discussed with the children whether you can slide a slope in rain pants and why. In the Aalto University Junior Lab, children get to know more about chemistry, for example, they tested what is a sugar rainbow.

The youngest participants in Junior-lab had just turned three years old. - It was really nice to notice that even small children stay involved in various science education projects. This is also a message to Lumo's people that even the small ones can do well in science projects, there is no need to focus only on school groups. Parents also admire the activities organized by the kindergarten.

Corona-spring mess patterns

Of course, the Corona situation also changed the LUMA program and everything that was planned couldn't be implemented. Anyway, in kindergarten, they found that technology can inspire children to learn a wide variety of things. - During the Corona restrictions, parents clearly liked the material distributed to the homes by the kindergarten staff. We sent videos and tips to parents via TinyApp.

Parents have said that children get “crazy” when a familiar adult from the kindergarten comes home on video. This time has also brought new ways of implementing early childhood education. - We are prepared for the autumn if the second Corona wave comes. Then we will focus on distance learning and live lessons again, Annika sums up.

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