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“Play, create, succeed!” Architectu­re for the very young

- Www.arkki.net

Teaching architectu­re to children from an early age is a firm reality in Finland. The 1992 Act on Basic Art Education was closely followed by the first real study plan: music, dance, performanc­e and the visual arts (architectu­re, art and crafts) have been among every pupil’s extra-curricula activities for nearly 30 years. “Teaching architectu­re develops a child’s ability to perceive, consider, understand, conceptual­ise and evaluate the environmen­t”, explains Pihla Meskanen, founder and head of Arkki, one of the first schools of architectu­re for children. “Play, create, succeed!” is the philosophy behind her method, tested for the last 25 years on 25,000 children aged 4-19 with long courses (1,800 hours over 15 years), themed courses and workshops. The Finnish school method is transversa­l, including experience in the field, work on a scale of 1:1, and the use of 3D modelling and recycled materials. One of the most popular courses is the (group) constructi­on of a treehouse. “Building a shelter is an innate need in every child ,” she continues. “Studying architectu­re develops a cultural identity and a sense of belonging to the environmen­t, our country and humanity in general.”

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