Participate and influence

The City of Helsinki is committed to helping every child and young person feel included, believe in their ability to influence matters, and get their voices heard in many ways in Helsinki. 

Promoting the opportunities of children and young people to participate and make a difference in Helsinki

The children and young people of Helsinki practise participating and influencing the City of Helsinki in a variety of ways in their daily lives. For example, they listen, practise their conversational and negotiation skills, believe in their ability to take action, examine and look into things, and practise self-directing their learning.

At schools, educational institutions and in their free time, children and young people practise their skills through pupil and student body activities, pupil and student councils, school boards, participatory budgeting processes and various surveys, votes and feedback. Learners are encouraged to set up groups that can help them learn to influence matters and promote things that are important to them. 

Learners get to know their neighbourhood and ways to influence it by working with local operators and participating in various learning projects, work placements and recreational activities. Learners are encouraged to make use of the entire city of Helsinki as a learning environment and also get to know different cooperation partners outside their daycare centre, school and city.

Parents are encouraged to participate in activities and plan their children’s early childhood education and care together with the daycare centre’s staff.

Parents may set up parent committees to support and supplement their children’s early childhood education. A parent committee appoints a chair and treasurer from among the parents and guardians of the children attending the daycare centre.

Parents, guardians and parent committees may use the early childhood education unit’s facilities free of charge to host events supporting early childhood education. Parents and guardians are responsible for looking after their children if they hold such an event outside of the unit’s operating hours.

Parents, guardians and parent committees must fund such activities at their own expense and keep records of the costs. These records must be available to all of the parents and guardians. The City of Helsinki’s guidelines do not allow early childhood education personnel to participate in managing or raising funds for a parent committee.

The goal of cooperation between home and school is to support the pupil’s healthy growth and learning, as well as the wellbeing of the entire school community. Successful cooperation is based on open, equal and confidential interaction. The principles of cooperation between school and home are defined in the school curriculum. The school decides on the practical implementation of this cooperation and joint activities together with the parents and guardians. The cooperation is reciprocal. The parents and guardians have the primary responsibility for the child’s upbringing and compulsory education. The school’s duty is to support the pupil’s growth and learning as a member of the school community.

Parents can get to know each other at events organised by the school or the class committee established by the parents. Schools also often have a parent committee that supports the activities of the entire school. Each school has a management board that consists of parent representatives nominated jointly by the parents and a pupil representative.

The school board oversees and develops the school’s operations. The boards of comprehensive schools and general upper secondary schools consist of representatives of the pupils, students, their parents and guardians, and school personnel. The term of office of current school boards is 2021–2025.

Unless there are provisions or regulations that state otherwise, the boards of comprehensive and general upper secondary schools:

  • annually approve an action plan based on the comprehensive school or general upper secondary school curriculum, excluding annual working hours
  • approve the school regulations or issue other rules and regulations to be applied at the comprehensive school or general upper secondary school
  • may suspend a comprehensive school pupil or general upper secondary school student for a maximum of one month and decide that the expulsion can be put into effect before the decision becomes non-appealable, as well as decide on a general upper secondary school student’s right to participate in teaching if the student is under investigation due to being suspected of a crime