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The Finnish Model for Leisure Activities in Helsinki

Poika ja hulavanne

The Finnish model for leisure activities is a project by the Ministry of Education and Culture (Minedu) where the main objective is improving the well-being of children and young people. The aim is to offer leisure activities in connection with the school day that they enjoy and one that is free of charge.

The activity selection and offering are arranged at schools with the children’s and young people’s wishes in mind. According to pupil surveys, the most popular activities desired included parkour, climbing, cooking, film and animation, visual arts, game design and programming.

As such, the provision of opportunities and activity-related information is especially aimed at children who do not have hobbies. The activities organised in connection to the school day cater to children and young people who may normally have limited opportunities to try out different leisure activities and enable them to find paths to long-term hobbies.

The key principles of the Finnish model followed in Helsinki include:

  • Preventing social exclusion
  • Reducing inequality
  • Improving well-being
  • Empathy skills
  • Creativity and critical thinking
  • Supporting physical exercise
  • Alleviating loneliness; supporting friendships
  • Supporting families
  • Increasing skills, sense of achievement, strengthening the identity of children and young people.


Free-of-charge leisure activities are provided in all comprehensive schools

Leisure activities are offered in Helsinki for pupils in grades 3–9 at their own school or in its vicinity after the school day and before 17:00. 

The City of Helsinki is committed to building the free-of-charge after-school leisure activities into a permanent operating model. The new model was piloted in Helsinki in spring 2021, whereby leisure activities were provided for pupils in grades 3–6 at 21 schools. In the 2021 autumn semester, activities were offered for pupils in grades 3–9 in all of Helsinki's 102 comperehensive schools. In the spring of 2022, the activities are expanded to cover private, agreement and state schools as well.


The spring term 2022 activities will start on 24 January

The registration for the activities will start on 10 January 2022. Information about the leisure activities and how to sign up for them will be available on the schools’ own websites under ‘Our school / Club and hobby activities.’  Guardians and pupils will be notified of activities via Wilma.

Register for the activity groups directly with the activity providers. Activity groups for secondary school pupils can be joined without advance registration. The registration is binding. If you have to cancel your registration, please contact the activity provider as soon as possible. The activity providers will also report any vacancies in the groups as a result of cancellations and additional groups. The participants of the Finnish Model Leisure Activities are covered by insurance for the duration of the activity.

The regional COVID-19 situation, current restrictions and health and safety instructions of the authorities will be taken into consideration when arranging activities following the Finnish model: Coronavirus updates from Helsinki


Helsinki is looking for more actors for organising the activities

The leisure activities following the Finnish model are arranged in cooperation with organisations, clubs, companies and other actors. Activities are organised at all comprehensive schools in Helsinki in Finnish, Swedish and English. Helsinki is now looking for more actors for organising the activities. The next competitive tendering for the organisation of leisure activities will be arranged for the school year 2022–2023. Read more


Become a Finnish model partner

The leisure activities following the Finnish model will be arranged in cooperation with associations and other operators. Sign up as a partner in the Finnish model for leisure activities and read further instructions here


Contact information

In Helsinki, the leisure activities under the Finnish model are coordinated by the Culture and Leisure Division together with the Childhood and Education Division.

Project Manager (City of Helsinki, Culture and Leisure)

Irma Sippola, tel. +358 (0)9 310 71640, +358 (0)41 512 1795, irma.sippola@hel.fi

Project coordinators by area (City of Helsinki, Childhood and Education)

Linnea Lindgård (South, West, Swedish-language schools, sports activities), tel. +358 (0)9 310 35022, +358 (0)40 835 8200, linnea.lindgard@hel.fi

Mirka Nokka (Centre, Northeast, North, culture and arts activities), tel. +358 (0)9 310 35165, +358 (0)40 682 6870, mirka.nokka@hel.fi

Susan Demirtas (East, Southeast, Östersundom, digital activities and other hobbies), tel +358 (0)9 310 38170, +358 (0)40 682 6599, susan.demirtas@hel.fi


The Finnish model in media

Finnish model for leisure activities requests for the next school year

As of Monday, all comprehensive schools of Helsinki are providing free-of-charge leisure activities. Hel.fi 30.8.2021

Suomi tuo harrastukset kouluihin: "Tämä on maailman paras kerho". Sveriges Radio Finska 26.5.2021, interview (1:15:27)

Pannukakkua ja animaatioita – harrastukset tuovat sisältöä koululaisten iltapäiviin. Hel.fi news article 15.5.2021

HS Lasten uutiset kävi tutustumassa harrastamisen Suomen mallin harrastuksiin Yhtenäiskoulussa. News broadcast 16.5.2021

Höpsönä koirista  innokkaat koululaiset uuden eläinharrastuksen parissa. Hel.fi news article 3.5.2021

Harrastamisen Suomen mallin toiminta käynnistyy Helsingissä. Hel.fi news article 19.4.2021

Helsinkiläislapsille aletaan tarjota ilmaisia harrastuksia koulun jälkeen – Tavoitteena rauhoittaa illat perheiden ajaksi. Helsingin Sanomat 19.4.2021

Lapsille ja nuorille paljon uusia harrastusmahdollisuuksia, koulujen iltapäivät yhä monipuolisempia. Hel.fi news article 1.2.2021

Harrastuksista on tullut kalliita, menestykseen tähtääviä ja iso joukko lapsia jää niiden ulko­puolelle – Nyt ilmaiset ja lasten toivomat harrastukset tuodaan kouluun. Helsingin Sanomat 1.2.2021

Harrastuksista on tullut kalliita, menestykseen tähtääviä ja iso joukko lapsia jää niiden ulko­puolelle – Nyt ilmaiset ja lasten toivomat harrastukset tuodaan kouluun. Helsingin Sanomat 1.2.2021

Uusi kokeilu tuo maksuttomat harrastukset koulupäivän yhteyteen: "Tukevat perheiden yhdessäoloa iltaisin". City of Helsinki Project Manager Irma Sippola interviewed on MTV Uutiset Uutisaamu 19.1.2021

Helsinki is seeking partners for adopting the Finnish model for hobbies. STT Press release 18.1.2021


More information about the Finnish model (Minedu)

The Finnish model for leisure activities (video in Finnish, Finnish subtitles)

Information about the Finnish model and the pupil survey (Minedu)

Valtakunnallinen Koululaiskysely 2020 avataan uudelleen. Article by Minedu 19 February 2021

Kohti mallikasta toteutusta: Kokemuksia harrastamisen Suomen mallin pilotista ja eväitä kevään hakuun. Recording of a Minedu webinar 17 February 2021

Saarikko: Harrastamisen Suomen mallin seuraava vaihe liikkeelle. Minedu press release 4 February 2021
112 kuntaa pilotoi harrastamisen Suomen mallia – toiminnassa mukana yli 200 000 oppilasta. Minedu press release 13 January 2021

Municipalities invited to participate in pilot project of the Finnish model – nearly EUR 10 million available for children's and young people's leisure activities. Minedu press release 28 October 2020


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Photo: Maarit Hohteri / City of Helsinki