The central component of MUKAVA was considered to be the integrated school day, funded by the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development (SITRA).
The central objectives of the program were:
SUPPORTING THE CHILD’S SOCIO-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT FROM PRESCHOOL TO COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL
Supplementing the traditional preschool curriculum, this project creates operation models that facilitate the development of children’s skills by guiding and rehabilitating those children with special needs in the areas of learning and, behavior regulation and emotional life.
2. Health education
Health Education, a new content area in Finland’s school curriculum, is aimed at improving students’ physical and psychical health. The MUKAVA program is actively contributing to the development of its teaching by providing materials and teacher training for supporting the students’ socio-emotional development, emotional awareness, social skills and self-esteem.
THE LEARNING ENVIROMENT CREATED BY THE SCHOOL AND THE TEACHERS
3. Integrated School Day
In this project the structure of the school day is reorganized to provide much greater scheduling flexibility. Before school, during lunch break, between lessons and after the end of the regular school day there may be guided activities including clubs and hobby circles, each led by teacher and other qualified instructors. Research has shown that student’s social development and learning is greatly enhanced when leisure time activities are organized and delivered by the school, as opposed to having the students go their own way to offside institutes, sport clubs, etc. Therefore, the school will be developed into a networked activity center where different youth organizations, clubs, youth workers, etc. can organize activities for the students.
4. Teacher Education
Teachers are challenged both to support the socio-emotional development of many different children and to work closely with children’s families. In this MUKAVA program, both the basic and continuing education of teachers is addressed in order to meet these challenges. Specific areas of development include: how teachers and parents can share educating responsibilities; continuity through the stages of education; the children’s social surroundings; socio-emotional development and growth objectives in curricula; and supporting the student and his or hers family in managing social problems.
THE SCHOOL'S RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE SURROUNDING WORLD
5. Introduction to Working Life
During the seventh through ninth grades, students work for short periods at worksites out of school. In this project, students are prepared by learning social skills relevant to a well functioning community. Additional emphasis is placed on using information technologies to coordinate activities in school and work.
6. Voluntary work (Volunteerism)
Volunteerism has not been strongly supported in Finnish schools. However, it has been found to remarkably advance social unity and community spirit and contributes to children’s socio-emotional development. In this project the school, in partnership with the local community, organizes clubs where the students are trained as volunteers. They then take part in various volunteer activities, e.g. in homes for the aged, hospitals or in the social work for the church. Students can also volunteer in support of their own school in various practical ways.
7. Cooperation Between Home and School
The MUKAVA program cannot work without close collaboration with parents. As a special subproject, classroom level networking among the parents and the collaboration with the teacher is developed. In this project the additional emphasis is given to developing and testing modern information and communication technologies. Kivahko communication system for collaboration between home and school was developed and tested during the project.