Day-care centre on the Hervanta campus creates the spark for studying science.

Touhula, an Oulu-based chain of day-care centres, opened a new day-care centre on the Tampere University of Technology campus in Hervanta in January 2018. Activities are based around themes at all Touhula day-care centres. For example, the day-care centres can have a special focus on physical activity or arts and culture.

For a day-care centre located on a university campus, making science part of the children’s daily lives was a logical choice. This is achieved by using the Kide Science approach to science education.

“Kide Science is a science education model with its pedagogical foundation in research conducted at the University of Helsinki. We provide premises for Kide Science clubs to use in the evenings. In exchange, we receive training and equipment for our staff to bring science into our day-to-day activities,” says Krista Hietanen, Manager of the Touhula day-care centre on the Hervanta campus.

At Hervanta, daily life in the Touhula day-care centre is inspired by themes that change throughout the year. Science education for day-care children involves play-based learning.

“In the winter, we might learn about the different states of water by bringing snow inside and seeing what happens to it. We also read literature that relates to our changing themes and introduce the topics to other activities, such as arts and crafts,” Hietanen explains.

Young children learn through play.

Running indoors is not against the rules

Located in renovated premises formerly used by the Tampere University of Technology, the day-care centre began its operations at the start of 2018. The day-care centre currently has about fifty children, and the total capacity is approximately 100.

The new premises have proved to be appropriate for their purpose and the feedback has been positive.

“Looking at it from the children’s perspective, you’ve got long and spacious hallways. The children can leave the groupwork spaces to go for a run in the hallways to burn up some extra energy. At Touhula day-care centres, running indoors is allowed as long as it is done safely. Our hallways are great for running,” Hietanen says.

One important aspect of smooth daily life in a day-care centre is having sufficient space for the children to work in small groups. The staff charged with looking after the young children also appreciate the highly functional bathrooms, where washing a child’s behind is easy and ergonomic.

At the heart of the day-care centre on the Hervanta campus is the lobby, which is referred to as the central plaza.

“We have sofas, a piano and a kitchen there. Our staff break room has actually been used less than expected because everyone enjoys the central plaza and have lunch there, even though it’s quite busy with children and adults around. These premises are spacious enough that you don’t feel cramped there,” Hietanen concludes.