Leppävaara glows in autumn colours on a new music video by the children at Ruusulinnan päiväkoti day-care centre
What does autumn look and sound like in Leppävaara, Espoo? The five-year-olds at Ruusulinnan päiväkoti day-care centre know this, as they have been involved in writing, playing and singing a song inspired by the season and by nearby nature.
In September–October, the five-year-olds at Ruusulinna have been able to work on an exciting project. The early childhood education group Ritarit (Knights) has explored autumnal Leppävaara during the production of a music video. The project, which included writing music and lyrics, playing instruments and singing, resulted in the children’s own music video Ritareiden syksybiisi (Autumn song of the knights).
The music video is part of a series of music videos exploring Espoo’s diverse urban centres based on the Peek into Espoo picture book. Earlier videos in the series include Talven karuselli (Winter Carousel), filmed in Espoon keskus and brimming with the joy of winter, the bilingual Kevät ja kaverit – är bäst (Summer and friends are the best), filmed in Tapiola and guaranteed to get you in a spring mood, and Nauravien rantakalojen Rantaräp(external link) (Beach rap by the laughing beach fish), filmed in Espoonlahti and evoking warm beach vibes.
The videos have been produced in cooperation with Espoo’s Event and Cultural Services, Finnish Early Childhood Education, and INTO SCHOOL, which specialises in music and creativity.
The project crystallises how new tools and learning and operating environments are actively developed and utilised in Espoo’s Growth and Learning Sector. In the music video project, children have been able to participate in almost everything from writing the song and making the video to performing the song.
As this particular video features Leppävaara, the urban centre in Espoo with the largest population, the children in Ruusulinna’s Ritarit group set out to explore the familiar surroundings from different perspectives.
Ritarit’s favourite place in Leppävaara is their nearby forest, where the group goes on weekly excursions. The diverse local forest enables children to explore nature in many ways and engage in nature-based physical activity and play. The forest is also new every time the weather and the seasons change.
“The production of the music video started with exploring the sound worlds of the forest, playing the forest and recording sounds on a joint excursion. After this, the children got to explore how to make music digitally with the Garageband app,” says Anne Wickman, the early childhood educator of the Ritarit group, who observed the creation of the song and the music video.
According to her, the music video project was a unique experience for the children.
The children were supported in producing the music by musicians Janne and Tuomas Hiedanniemi from INTO SCHOOL. They have solid professional skills in both music production and working with children. The Hiedanniemis are also early childhood education and music teachers, so they are familiar with working with children. Johannes Rantanen was responsible for filming and editing Ritarit’s video.
Rhyming and digital skills in one package
The recordings for the song were made on the premises of the Ruusulinna day-care centre, where the colours of the autumn forest glowed in children’s paintings and crafts in a small group space transformed into a studio. The song says: “In autumn there are leaves / red and yellow / completely different colours / yay yay yay!”
The children themselves wrote rhyming lyrics about the autumnal forest, opening up the opportunities of nearby nature even for the adult listener through the experiences of children.
After a nature trip to the nearby forest, the group’s adults recorded the children’s thoughts in a booklet. This was the basis of the rhythm and melody created for the lyrics with the assistance of the Hiedanniemis. The final text was created by listening, combining and even voting on different options.
“It’s surprising how easy and pleasant the whole project has been. The children did this, it’s their own thing. The children have been very excited, and now they’re singing the song in the corridors all the time. Especially children who don’t speak Finnish as their native language have adopted the song very well,” says Anne Wickman.
Research has shown that music and singing are good ways to promote children’s language learning and enable positive experiences of success and communality for everyone.
This year, the entire Ruusulinna day-care centre is participating in Espoo Early Childhood Education’s Uudet lukutaidot (New literacy skills) project(external link). It is a project to develop the pedagogy of digital skills and media literacy in early childhood education. The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
“Today’s children grow up in the midst of a digital culture and need the skills to operate safely and responsibly in digital environments. In early childhood education, digital skills are practised especially through children’s own creative production and expression, emphasising communality, playfulness and joy,” says Hanna Manner, Project Coordinator for the Uudet lukutaidot project.
These areas are also beautifully visible in Ritarit’s multifaceted music project. Watch the accompanying video to see and experience it for yourself!
Take a peek at the other music videos by children in Espoo and explore Espoo’s urban centres in different seasons.
- Winter Carousel (Espoon keskus)
- Kevät ja kaverit – är bäst (Summer and friends are the best) (Tapiola)
- Nauravien rantakalojen Rantaräp(external link) (Beach rap by the laughing beach fish) (Espoonlahti)
The music videos were inspired by the colourful Peek into Espoo picture book illustrated by Carlos da Cruz and created in collaboration with children in Espoo. The book, produced by Espoo’s Cultural Services, introduces different urban centres in Espoo through places that are important for children.
- Early Childhood Education
- Growth and Learning