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In Finland, at least the basics of knitting and power drilling are familiar to everyone. This is thanks to a century and a half of craft education.
For decades already, the Finnish comprehensive school system has taught pupils to count and write, but also to sew and use the most common tools. Earlier, children and youth were divided into woodworking and textile crafts and design classes based on their gender and, later, on their personal interests. In 2017, craft education was transformed. According to the new curriculum, all pupils now study both subjects for the first seven years of comprehensive school.
The redesigned craft classes in comprehensive school encompass various techniques, such as welding and crocheting, technology education, design and other skills useful in the 2030s.
“Multi-materiality is a new feature of the curriculum,” says Minna Matinlauri, a craft teacher at the Helsinki Normal Lyceum, or Norssi. She has been teaching crafts since 1992.
In the upper comprehensive school of Norssi, the new curriculum has meant that, from autumn 2017 onwards, all seventh-graders have climbed to the top floor of the school for craft classes held in the former textile crafts and design class, now serving as a studio.
This autumn, Matinlauri will involve her pupils in assignments related to industrial and interior design.