An inspiring path to science!
The basis of the Junior University model is the close cooperation between the city of Lappeenranta and the LUT University.
Lappeenranta Junior University promotes a smooth path for children and adolescents towards university studies. The goal is that Lappeenranta is nationally known as an urban area with a strong focus on Finnish high competence in pre-primary and basic education. Lappeenranta Junior University activities raise the interest of science and technology, business and research among children and young people in Lappeenranta and strengthen students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes to science and research-based studies. The goals and contents of Junior University are based on the LUT University’s strategic focus areas, which can naturally be linked to pre-primary, primary, and high school education curricula.
The long-term goal is to build a unique combination of learning and teaching at a national level, both internationally and internationally, that strengthens pupils’ interest in mathematical and natural sciences and technology (STEAM) and provides students with comprehensive access to university education from the point of view of educational equality.
Lappeenranta Junior University is both nationally and internationally a unique unit of education. The action forms a continuum of general education from preschool to high school. The know-how of different-aged pupils, parents, teachers, researchers and top companies within the energy field is combined in planning, implementing and developing the action. Considering the strategic development of the city of Lappeenranta, Junior University -activity also strengthens the vitality of the city and creates new potential for growth.
Lappeenranta Junior University -activity is based on the curriculum composed upon the national core curriculum and the close co-operation between the city of Lappeenranta, LUT University and local Greenreality-Network companies and communities.
The basis of Lappeenranta Junior University is the active work for sustainable future done by the participating children, youngsters and adults. Actions which prevent climate change and save energy are at the core of the action. Basis for strengthening the pupils’ ecosocial civilization is created with these actions. Pupil-centered action also supports the faith for a better future and emphasizes the meaningfulness of everyday acts suitable for the pupils age and stage of development.
The special feature of the procedure is that all the general education schools are involved. The co-operation is implemented in all the schools together with LUT University which specializes in research for renewable energy and sustainable development (see the attachment). This guarantees the high quality of the action i.a. in the following fields: energy solutions based on renewable energy sources, litter-free world based on circulation economy, securing clean water, new business models based on sustainable development, new green growth entrepreneurship and actions which support the development of Europe.
Lappeenranta Junior University is aware of the profound links between all the fields of human life, other people and nature. With this kind of thinking accountability, moderateness and interpersonality may become one’s benefits already in short term but most importantly in long term. The pupils of basic education make yearly Greenreality -promises within their study groups and they are a vital part of the environmental programmes of the schools and of promoting sustainable lifestyle in everyday life.
Lappeenranta Junior University action has vast support. In addition to the school communities in the city of Lappeenranta and local communal decision-makers the action is supported by LUT University, Finnish National Board for education, Greenreality Network, several organizations, European Regional Development Fund and the Regional Council of South Karelia.
Lappeenranta Junior University action is based on the advancing studies of the following themes according to the age and development stage of the pupils.
Pre-schoolers – (Clean energy, clean water and circular economy): Research equipment, teaching materials, tales and Eco detective-research exercises)
3rd graders – (Clean water and circular economy): Water day at each school, Theme period about circular economy, Inspiring pre exercises, Circulation of water in nature and studying about sanitation etiquette, Learning games and “master of recycling” exercises.
5th graders – (Sustainable business and entrepreneurship ): Product planning, creating a sustainable business model, setting up a business and the concept of trade, Implementation of extended “Little Entrepreneur” model during the whole school year, LUTra entrepreneur fair day at LUT-university.
8th graders – (Clean energy and sustainable living): Implementing an interdisciplinary learning module which includes the following themes: carbon footprint, clean energy, energy efficiency, water consumption, circular economy, sustainable consumption, intelligent systems and automation, sustainable building and living in the future, the importance of one’s own decisions, carbon neutral way of life and sharing economy, Participating in the workshops at LUT-university
High school students – (Clean energy, clean water, circular economy, sustainable business and entrepreneurship): Visiting lecturers, parts of theme days, Courses implemented in cooperation and courses planned for high school students, Visits at LUT and Science library, Candidate courses at LUT, Possibility to use laboratories at LUT, Friend family activities and Visiting international students.
Teachers: Supporting training and – materials, Cooperation networks (ia. researchers, learning institutions and companies, Interesting development and responsibility tasks and Research information
Lappeenranta Junior University -action has raised much interest. Its concept has been used in co-operation cities (i.a. Lahti and Imatra) and regional, national and international networks. According to the European Green Leaf Jury Report 2020: Lappeenranta Junior University is seen as an easy yet impactful way to create behavioural change, easily replicable by other cities in Europe.”(dated 6/2019)
Over 3000 pupils and 150 teachers take part in Lappeenranta Junior University -action yearly. In addition, over 100 experts take part in organizing, planning, implementing and developing the action. Two yearly events are held as part of the action (LUTra-entrepreneurship event for 11-year-olds and Uniori-workshops for 15-year-olds), around 1000 pupils, teachers and experts for sustainable development attend these events. Pupils have the opportunity to learn about EU Energy Climate Targets and take part in the events of WWF’s Earth Hour and EU’s Energy Day.
Lappeenranta Junior University action reaches over 30% of all the parents and family members of the pupils within general education in Lappeenranta every year. From the year 2022 onwards the action will have reached all the pupils in pre- and basic education within the city of Lappeenranta (6200 pupils). All the first-year students in high schools in Lappeenranta will take part in the action from the year 2021 onwards when the new curriculum of high schools is implemented.
Lappeenranta is known as the climate capital of Finland. The city invests strongly in green actions and its goal is to become a model city for renewable energy and clean environment. The city actively supports businesses by acting as a pilot platform and offers the businesses the best possible environment for experimenting. Lappeenranta Junior University is one form of action to support citizens to use new technology and to act as pioneers in action which saves the environment. In addition, Lappeenranta Junior University -action promotes sustainable city planning and emission-free transport.
Close co-operation between homes and local businesses supports saving energy and water and promotes recycling within all the homes and small-scale businesses in city center area. The action offers local businesses and other operators an excellent environment to introduce the use of sustainable lifestyle products and services to children, youngsters and families. In addition, pupils, parents and teachers will learn about the new innovations about i.a. circulation economy, electricity, heating, water, transport and logistics.
The level of energy saving, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy is expected to rise in schools, businesses and homes due to Lappeenranta Junior University -action in Lappeenranta.