null It is important to reach those children who do not yet have a hobby

As outlined in the Government Programme, the Ministry of Education and Culture has set up a working group to prepare a Finnish model for creating opportunities for all children and young people to engage in recreational activities in connection with the school day.

The Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland emphasises the importance of pedagogical competence and good quality in all activities concerning children and young people.

The recent public debate on abuse of power in the recreational activities of children and young people has been a sad read. However, it is encouraging that we are finally ready to face up to these difficult themes.

The Ministry of Education and Culture and the operators in the fields of arts and physical exercise also have the will to discuss and seek solutions to the problem. The cases that have emerged to the public debate have concerned the failure of the responsible adult to create an atmosphere for developing the skills safely.

A safe hobby environment consists of an open, approving and encouraging encounter between adults and children, and of constructive interaction between children.

In Finland, we are in a fortunate position to have thousands of educated art, culture and sports pedagogues. Their professional skills must be utilised in the implementation of the Finnish model. A safe and supportive hobby environment must be created for everyone and especially for those with a high threshold to engage in extra-curricular recreational activities for one reason or another.

In the Finnish model, it is essential to reach all children and young people, including those who do not yet have any hobby. However, studies show that increasing the supply is not alone sufficient, because the increased supply often targets at those who are already active.

The Finnish model should therefore apply and develop the methods of outreach youth and cultural work. Wide-ranging and multi-professional cooperation between, for example, education and cultural services, providers of recreational activities and parents is essential.

Hearing the wishes and needs of children and young people and the pedagogical quality, safety and encouraging nature of recreational activities will ensure that the pupils will feel themselves comfortable and are enthusiastic and motivated to continue with their hobbies.


Anniina Suominen

Professor of Art Pedagogy, Aalto University


Eeva Anttila

Professor of Dance Pedagogy


Viivi Seirala

Executive Director, Finnish Association for Basic Education in the Arts


The article was originally published in Helsingin Sanomat on 7 March 2020.