Learn about the widely supported student wellness initiatives

Free health care services and other wellness initiatives

Maintaining wellbeing is a prerequisite for learning

Finland is a Nordic welfare state. The health care system is designed to provide universal coverage and equal access to services for everyone. Education is seen as crucial to the competitiveness and wellbeing of the society. The aim of the national laws pertaining to schools and education is to promote the wellbeing and safety of pupils. Health care services are free for the pupils of compulsory education. There are school nurses and dentists available in schools. Also, schools have psychologists and social workers for those who need these services.

The quality of school life directly affects the health of children and young people.

Maintaining wellbeing among students is a prerequisite for learning. Education cannot lead to success if pupils’ basic physical, emotional and social needs are not met. The education system has a significant opportunity to influence the health and habit formation of students, which correlates to the wellbeing of citizens on a societal scale. By teaching and supporting positive health behaviour development to students at a young age, we instil a way of life that can carry on throughout adulthood.

Student wellness is supported by many initiatives. Have a look at some of our selected examples:

Anti-bullying activities

Almost of all Finnish schools are participants in an excellent anti-bullying programme, KiVa.

  • KiVa is a research-based antibullying programme, the effectiveness of which has been proven in a large-scaled controlled trial.
  • The goal of the programme is simply to put an end to bullying.
  • Nearly 90% of all Finnish schools are participants in the KiVa anti-bullying programme.
  • In participating schools, the universal preventive actions taken to put an end to bullying are directed at all pupils.
  • Indicated actions, such as individual and group discussions and follow-ups, are taken when a bullying case arises and are specifically directed at the pupils involved, both the bully and victim of bullying.
  • In reducing and preventing bullying, each and every pupil’s responsibility in the universal wellbeing of others is emphasised.
  • Internationally, there has been significant interest in the programme.
  • We are happy to share the policies of the programme that have been tested in most Finnish schools.
  • You can learn about KiVa school activities in all Joensuu comprehensive schools.
  • KiVa program can be taken into use in every school worldwide – it can be adapted to different cultures and societies. Contact Finland University for more information.

Guaranteeing equality

A way to support the wellbeing of pupils

  • All the books and other learning materials are provided by the school and are, thus, free for families.
  • We greatly value the involvement of students in the school community’s decision making.  Students can participate in planning activities and democratically make decisions about general issues in each school.
  • Several support initiatives and services are offered via a pupil’s own school, or its co-operating partners if needed, in order to support the learning or wellbeing of a pupil or family.
  • Forms of initiatives include, for example, services for health care, psychological or learning challenge needs, or support for the management of a functional family life.

Positive pedagogy

A cross-cutting approach in all the schools of the region

  • Positive Education is an approach that promotes student and staff wellbeing.
  • Based on the science of Positive Psychology, Positive Education aims to enable individuals and communities to flourish.
  • A fundamental point is to emphasise the strengths of each student.
  • Through our principles, we guide pupils to learn to see diversity as richness and that everyone has strengths.
  • Teamwork is the most successful way to achieve the best results!
  • All early and basic education teachers in the Joensuu area have been recently trained to implement the approach in their educational institutes on a daily basis.

Mindfulness in schools

Practising mindfulness supports pupils’ concentration skills

  • Mindfulness can be brought into school by adding little moments of calming down to a scheduled day.
  • Simple exercises can include meditation, stretching and practices for calming the mind.
  • Such methods help pupils to concentrate and avoid stress by becoming more aware of themselves.
  • These types of exercises are more significant in today’s digitalised world than ever before.
  • Wellbeing increases when pupils are taught to practise mindfulness in schools.
  • By creating positive behavioural patterns, we balance the wellbeing of our children and future generations.
  • Discover how mindfulness is practised in schools in Joensuu!

Schools on the move

Increasing pupils’ physical activity through a national programme

  • Finnish Schools on the Move is a national action programme aiming to establish a physically active culture in Finnish comprehensive schools.
  • Schools participating in the programme implement their own individual plans to increase physical activity during the school day.
  • The programme is one of the key projects in the field of knowledge and education in the Government Programme of Finland.
  • The goal is to expand the project across the country to ensure one hour of physical activity for pupils each day.
  • During the school day, physical activity can be increased by adding more physical education lessons, promoting active commuting and encouraging physically active breaks.
  • During schools lessons, sedentary behaviour can be decreased by implementing active learning methods involving short active breaks in order to support optimal learning and avoid long periods of continued sitting.
  • Finnish Schools on the Move programme started with a pilot phase (2010–2012).
  • As of May 2017, more than 90% of municipalities and 80% of comprehensive schools (2 000 schools) were involved in the programme.
  • In Joensuu, almost all schools participate in the programme.
    When visiting our schools, you are invited to discover and observe how the programme is implemented in practice.

Description of the program