Aalto University Junior is art, science, technology and entrepreneurship for children, young people and teachers - to support teaching, personal joy and a source of enthusiasm.
Curious and daring youngsters
Workshops, afternoon clubs, summer camps, researcher visits and ‘virtual help’ – Aalto University Junior is all these things and more. Supported by donated funds, Aalto University Junior offers exciting and enjoyable classes that bring children and young people into the realm of arts, technology and business. There is no doubt as to the impact of the activities; straight after completing a workshop the children often ask when they can come again.
‘An enthusiastic atmosphere forms in the groups as they get involved in the tasks. When children start talking, experimenting, discussing and considering solutions, we are truly at the heart of the learning process,’ says Veli-Matti Ikävalko, Manager of Aalto University Junior.
In March 2020, coronavirus restrictions meant that Aalto Junior had to shift to online teaching. The results have been excellent. ‘We went on to social media, where we were able to reach children and young people with science-based tasks and brainteasers,’ says Ikävalko.
‘This got quite a positive buzz going and the questions from young people came flooding in. One particular video clocked up 100,000 views. We also offered contact teaching through virtual workshops and theme weeks.’
Despite the shift to remote teaching, some 15,000 children, young people and teachers from around Finland participated in Aalto Junior’s activities during 2020. Workshops and other events are provided in both Finnish and Swedish. Aalto Junior is also a member of the national inter-university LUMA Centre network.
Creating the spark
Aalto Junior is a way of bringing the research world and university activities into the lives of children and young people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to academic thinking. As it is free of charge, Aalto Junior is open to all. Young people face big questions when thinking about their future and what they will do as adults. Choosing a profession is not easy. ‘We try to support young people and inform them about studies at Aalto University,’ says Ikävalko. ‘Primary schools and upper-secondary schools can book a researcher to attend one of the students’ classes to give a short science lesson.’
Aalto Junior’s events fill up quickly. Cross-disciplinary activities attract and inspire both girls and boys to dig deeper into art, technology and business. During Aalto Junior’s latest autumn holiday camp, primary school pupils thought about the structure of an atom, designed a logo for a space tourism company, and created animations. Summer camps typically fill up with upper-secondary school students who get to delve into design thinking and entrepreneurship. Aalto Junior’s afternoon clubs combine science and art in a fun way, allowing the students to explore the world from a different perspective. In the Family Day workshops, for example, students can learn how electricity works, practice making biodegradable plastic, and try creating animations on an iPad.
Text: Marjukka Puolakka
Additional information about Aalto Junior
What would you like to learn next?
Lifewide learning at university begins as a child and teenager, and then continues throughout one’s life. Because the world and ways of doing things are constantly changing, it’s not enough just to make do with old studies and qualifications. Aalto University’s lifewide learning path offers both courses and entire degree programmes and qualifications.
We will guide you and help you recognise your learning needs to ensure that you always have the skills that set you a step ahead. Lifewide learning is an opportunity – make the most of it!