Yhtenäiskoulu is a twelve-year school providing primary and secondary education. Unlike most Finnish schools, Yhtenäiskoulu comprises of three levels: the six-year primary level, the lower secondary level (forms 7 to 9) and the upper secondary level (forms 10 to 12). The levels are not only administratively but also pedagogically integrated, the whole school following a uniform curriculum. There are about 400 students enrolled, 155 of which at the upper level of secondary school.
Thanks to its small size Yhtenäiskoulu provides a unique opportunity for Helsinki students to study in a friendly, cosy atmosphere, where the individual needs of the students can be satisfied. This is especially true for the upper secondary school where the students can be given an exceptional amount of individual tutoring. A considerable number of students complete all the forms from 1 to 12 in our school, thus not changing school at all during their school career. But new students are also admitted at the beginning of the lower and upper secondary school level.
From its founding, Yhtenäiskoulu’s school-year has been divided into five to six periods at all the school levels. Nowadays the five period system is in use, each period being made up out of 37 to 38 schooldays. In fact, Yhtenäiskoulu was the first school in Finland to introduce the period system, which later became common in Finnish secondary schools. Yhtenäiskoulu's upper secondary level has been non-graded since 1994, and the students can complete their studies in two to four years (see Lesson Distribution Plan and Starting-schedule of Subjects), finishing with the national Matriculation Examination. In 2009, Yhtenäiskokulu changed the class lengths from 45 minutes to 75 minute sessions. AT primary level, half-classes are also used for certain subjects.
Our educational policy is based on the following criteria:
Ability to think critically
Sense of community; responsibility and freedom
Individuality and self-knowledge
Creativity and courage
Integrity, justice and tolerance
Respect for the environment.
As information contents change very fast in today’s world, our teachers feel that teaching should focus more and more emphasis on the students’ learning skills, such as creative information searching and critical thinking. Our concept of knowledge stresses the students’ own experiences and reasoning, critical thinking, conceptual accuracy, understanding of entities and the ability to apply knowledge.
Yhtenäiskoulu’s pedagogical aims can be summarised as follows:
Development of the students’ information management and thought processes
Advancement of creativity and expressiveness
Development of autonomous learning and flexible forms of instruction
Growth into taking responsibility for oneself, other people and the environment
Provision of a safe and open school
Prevention of marginalisation.