In Buzau, a Finnish-style education system is already being implemented, which is successful and will extend to all schools in the city. Children learn through play, and they prefer lessons outdoors or other places where students can learn practical things from. There is also the “Circular School” project, created after the circular economy model, which helps students learn to recycle and use waste as efficiently as possible. The program is carried out from kindergarten to high school, including the link with dual secondary and university education, based on the practicality of the learning process, which also ensures the assimilation of graduates into the labor market.
The Finnish-inspired school started an experimental class in Buzau. Konstantin Toma, Mayor of the city, presented the results of this project, during the conference in the series “Smart Romania. Buzau – Education and Innovation Center. High performance models and performance in education.” The event was organized yesterday by Antena 3 jointly with the national daily Journalol at the Cultural and Educational Center “Alexandro Margeloman” in Buzau.
After the first year of learning in the Finnish system, an assessment of what has been achieved in this field has already been made. It is about avant-garde education. Municipal representatives set out to perform by borrowing ideas while adapting them. The first report shows that the education reform undertaken in Buzau, based on the real needs of the community, is really effective.
“In Buzau, things began to change from the point of view of education. Destiny made me read a definition of community development, given by a famous university in the United States. For the harmonious development of society, education and culture are 50% of the reference pillars for creating a better future. We have come up with ideas to help us, Because this ranking in the PISA test showing that one in two children is semi-functionally literate made us think and we waited for nothing to come from the Ministry of Education, but we started with the people here, with teachers and school administrators, let’s think about something else.And so many projects emerged that It put us at the top in terms of change for the better. It’s the most important investment we can make in a city, even if it doesn’t bring in votes. The city’s mayor explained that the results will likely be seen in the next 10 to 15 years.”
Kindergarten education program
Buzau began to apply Finnish-style education with 2,000 students from 15 schools. The project will be expanded to include all schools in the city, and integrated into the city’s development strategy. Great help came from Deputy Mayor Una Matas, who deals with education and culture, after studying, with exceptional results, in Western European countries. The directors of educational institutions that started to implement this project spoke at the conference about the success of first-grade learning in the Finnish system.
Finnish-inspired education is implemented from kindergarten. Kindergarten children no. 6 Buzau has already been included in this system, and the results obtained are very good. It is an ambitious and successful project. We were invited to a business meeting, she presented us with this great idea and asked if we wanted to implement this project. We have already known the special results obtained through the Finnish education system from the press. It is very important to see what is happening, and where it is happening. I was impressed with the results, but when I saw how it was done in schools in Finland, I came with the experience there and shared it with my colleagues. Not everyone wanted to implement this system from the start, but many saw results and wanted to get involved. First of all, it is about opening teachers to do activities in nature. We do outdoor activities, as much as possible, or in other places where children can learn a lot more from the closed classroom space,” explained Maria Foti, Director of Kindergarten no. 6 from Buzau.
Reducing “functional illiteracy”
The Finnish system also brings great benefit to children who have recently become “functionally illiterate” because they are denied the right to engage in certain activities considered part of the “exploitation of a minor”. The Finnish school interprets this problem completely differently, encouraging them to work, not to mention exploit. “Another great benefit is the development of independence in children. They are small, but they can handle it, and we encourage them. We have modified the activity that takes place in the canteen so that they can serve themselves. This way they appreciate the work of those around them, but also to manage everyday situations”, as says the headmistress of the nursery. Such activities were carried out in communist Romania, the “key” generations did such activities, including at home, from an early age, but after 1990 all activities that would have developed children’s ability to manage their own affairs were eliminated. Own, i.e. exactly the autonomy that the Finnish system develops. The little ones also have artistic creations that now decorate the interior of the kindergarten, and the program will be expanded to all classes, at the request of parents.
Classes are held in the spirit of the game and in the open air
From the point of view of teaching, learning takes place through play, the atmosphere in the classroom is a cheerful one, and the possibility of doing classes outdoors and in places other than the classroom is an incentive for children and teens. At school no. 14 In the city, the project was implemented in one class, but all students, teachers and parents requested that this learning model be extended to the whole school. “We only took this project for one class last year. This Finnish-inspired education is well received by our students. We have tried, for a long time, this approach from informal to formal, this model brings us very close to students and parents, and focuses our attention on the need for safety , on the idea of the team. We want the students to love them in the school and ask their parents to let them learn,” explained, during the conference, Silvia Straw, Director of “Mihail Kogălniceanu” Gymnasium School no. 14, from Buzau. 90% of the students of this school are of gypsy origin, and the great struggle of teachers, in recent years, has been to reduce school dropout. The new teaching system seems to have already solved this problem, 100%. “School in the Garden is an excellent project, especially for students from disadvantaged communities. Reducing school dropouts is one of the most important results obtained by implementing this system,” the principal added.
Take advantage of the traditions in the best high school
The same Finnish system is successful in high school. Not any high school, but even the best in town, “BP Hasdeu” National College. “Hasdeu” is a school like a medieval castle, connected to the Internet. We start from the idea of modernization by knowing the traditions and benefiting from them. George Emil Balde, a Nobel Prize winner, has graduated from this school by many academics, cultural figures and scientists. This is the reason why many students want to attend this high school. “Recently, we have been criticized uniformly, without any discrimination. In general, what has been lost in recent years can be recovered. We are facing a situation where students come in with very high marks, but coverage in competencies says something else”, she explained, during the conference Virginia Mandrota Tonescu, High School Principal. The model applied at Hasdeu College is based on respect for tradition and education based on healthy principles, encouraging students to have self-respect and respect for performance. High School rewards professional performance, courage, attitude, and all qualities that students have demonstrated during an academic year.
The country’s first “circular school”
There is also the first project of the “Circular School”, which Veronica Grozavo, Vice Principal of Gymnasium School No. 11 from Buzau. „Local authorities implemented, at the secondary school level no. 11, a project called “The Circle School”, the first national show. The concept of a circular economy covers three aspects: reducing losses, promoting selective aggregation, and using natural resources. This concept is translated into the behavior and attitude of every student in our school. The director explained that even if these things were done before, now children are learning to recycle waste selectively.”
Here students also learn how to grow the land in an educational greenhouse. Their activities vary according to their age and level of training. Within the “Circular School” project, a manual will be developed that can be used by all who wish to implement this educational system. “We have applied the concept of agriculture to adults, through the urban agriculture project. We are also working on a guide to implement elements of the circular economy, in order to introduce it specifically to children, so that they have a good knowledge of the terminology,” the school representative also said.
Students shared the whole community
All activities carried out by the school were with the participation of those from the community. The students distributed flyers in the neighborhood and managed to mobilize the entire population to collect the waste. The Music Garden was set up in the school yard – a small garden with musical instruments made from recyclable materials. The music park’s funding amounted to 85,000 lei, obtained by winning a project from the Buzhou Community Fund, supplemented by the city hall with another 20,000 lei. The alleys and benches were created by students and teachers, from cork from PET and cement. The children went to several economic agents and persuaded them to collect thousands of corks for this project.
There will also be a garden where there will be fixtures also made of recyclable materials, with devices to demonstrate light effects or other experiments done in physics, chemistry and other subjects. “All this contributes to the formation of the behavior and behavior of our students, so that they produce less waste, collect selectively and contribute to the protection of the environment. It is also important to manage resources intelligently. Rainwater is collected in three basins, where it is used as domestic water and for greenhouse irrigation. Plant residues are used To produce compost, children can see how the biodegradable waste is used and how they can re-enter the production cycle,” said the deputy director.
Buzău is preparing to create Finnish-inspired classes in all schools in the city. Students will learn in ‘circular schools’, where they will understand why recycling is needed and how waste is reused.