Multicultural holiday calendar increases awareness of different views of life among children and young people and supports diversity

26.9.2022 7.03
Three children holding balloons.

For the eighth time, the already traditional multicultural holiday calendar has been published for the school year 2022–2023. This year, more than a quarter of pupils in basic education in Espoo and a tenth of general upper secondary school students are multilingual. The calendar will be supplied to daycare centres, schools, general upper secondary schools and youth centres in Espoo.

The multicultural holiday calendar increases awareness of different religions and cultures among children and young people and supports schools in implementing multiculturalism. Espoo is a multicultural city, and the calendar communicates the importance of respecting different religions and cultures. This year, more than a quarter of pupils in basic education in Espoo and a tenth of general upper secondary school students are multilingual.

Different cultures as part of education and early childhood education in Espoo

Pupils in comprehensive schools in Espoo speak up to 141 different languages as their first language, and mother tongue instruction is held in 40 languages. Religious and ethics education is offered in eight subjects: Evangelical-Lutheran, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Judaism and Hare Krishna religions, as well as Islam, Buddhism and ethics. In addition to the specific religious or ethics subject, the education also focuses on other religions and ethics.

Cultural advisers work in basic education and general upper secondary schools to support pupils and students as well as families and schools. This school year, cultural instruction in basic education is available in Arabic, Kurdish, Dari/Farsi, Somali, Thai, Russian, Estonian and Ukrainian. In general upper secondary schools, cultural advisers help young people and their families with immigrant backgrounds in Arabic, Somali, Chinese and Russian.

The languages, cultures and views on life in early childhood education groups in Espoo are the focus of positive attention and a source of joy in everyday life and celebrations. This is specified in the early education plan employed in Espoo. Different cultures, languages and views on life are examined with the children and children are taught to respect diversity in cultures and people.

Holiday calendar to increase interest in different cultures in children and young people

The cultural holiday calendar is used in schools in religious, ethics and multicultural education, among other things.

“We can discuss the diverse traditions, stories and customs connected to different celebrations in school. National holidays, in turn, bring people in Finland together. The calendar inspires us to ask questions,” says religion and ethnic studies planner Tiina Nenye from the Multicultural Education Services of the Finnish Basic Education Unit.

School leadership may also utilise the calendar in planning the school year, when the holidays affecting everyday life in school can be found in the same place.

In schools and daycare centres, children and young people like to look for familiar celebrations in the calendar, which will strengthen their own identity.

“The multicultural holiday calendar can be used to highlight different views on life and holiday traditions in early childhood education groups. Different cultures and views on life can be examined in a versatile manner through music, play, crafts or drama, for example. This way, the customs and traditions of different cultures and views on life will be introduced naturally,” says Early Childhood Education Specialist Jaana Särmälä from Finnish Early Education in Espoo.

Music, games, food and doing things together also bring young people together in youth centres regardless of their language or cultural background.

“Various themed events and weeks are organised in youth centres, during which young people get to learn more about different countries and their cultures. Themed days are dedicated to learning more about the food, customs, language and celebrations of a specific country,” says Head of Youth Services Merja Nordling

Learn more about the new multicultural holiday calendar

The multicultural holiday calendar is compiled in cooperation with teachers of religious and ethics subjects. The celebrations and national holidays connected to different religions have been presented using various symbols in the calendar.

There is widespread interest in the calendar each year across municipal borders. Posters to decorate classrooms and common areas will be posted to daycare centres, schools, general upper secondary schools and youth centres in Espoo. The calendar is also available in electronic format.

The calendar for the 2022–2023 school year is available in Finnish and Swedish at the bottom of the bulletin.

  • Growth and Learning
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Basic Education
  • General Upper Secondary Education
  • Youth Services