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The planning path

Get started on the journey towards your cultural education plan! The planning path will help you to find your way step by step.

Where do I start?

The work begins with appointing a person in charge of the cultural education plan work. They be a representative of the municipality’s cultural services or a basic education teacher, or a two-person team, with one from each of these areas. The person (or persons) in charge is allocated working time to prepare the plan. The cultural education plan is created between actors in the field of education and culture. Good results can be guaranteed through shared expertise, time spent working together, sensible resourcing, a clear division of responsibilities, and the use of multidisciplinary networks.

The next step is to assemble a planning team. Who can we get help from? The work can also include representatives from education, art schools, as well as municipal cultural and art institutions and associations. It is worth including parties that are already enthusiastic and motivated about these topics.

Efforts should be made from the outset to involve children and young people in the planning. How can they be involved in drawing up a cultural education plan? And when can they judge its success? Suitable partners could include school student unions, for instance.

Define the goals of the cultural education plan – What are the values guiding its planning and implementation? What is the purpose of the plan? Based on these questions, a systematic and high-quality cultural education plan can be drawn up.

What is being done in the municipality already?

There’s no need to start from scratch. Drawing on existing content and previous practices in the municipality will make the process easier and faster. Make a list:

What cultural events and activities does the municipality currently offer?All arts and cultural institutions in your area: libraries, galleries, theaters, orchestras, art centers, museums, and archives

Other cultural sites in the area: local cultural environments, architecturally significant buildings, important sculptures and statues, places of traditional value, cultural walks, religious buildings, castles, and World Heritage Sites

Cultural events in the area: festivals, theme weeks, campaigns, village day events and district day events

Local actors in the arts and culture sector: artists, cultural and artistic associations, local history societies, experts in traditions, artists’ cooperatives, art educators, basic art education, performers, and touring groups
How is cultural education currently provided in schools?Celebrations, excursions, visits, other events…

Previous collaboration with arts and cultural actors.
Is something missing from your area?You can supplement the range of activities on offer with virtual materials and collaboration with regional and national actors.

These may include touring theaters and orchestras, digital services for school cultural education, online materials, streaming, and more.
Remember to keep the different cultural and artistic fields in mind already during the planning phase!Architecture and the built environment
Cultural heritage and interculturalism
Fine art, photography, and cartoons
Literary art and literature
Media and new areas of culture
Design and handicrafts
Local culture
Dance, theater, and circus
What can your cultural education plan include?Excursions to art and cultural institutions and sites in the area

Artist-led workshops and artist visits

Performances by touring groups

Preliminary assignments, workshops, and follow-up work at schools

How can the plan be made?

There is no right or wrong way to draw up a cultural education plan. Due to the lack of a national policy, there is a lot of variation in the names and contents of cultural education plans. Each municipality should draw up the cultural education plan that suits it best. The model does not have to stay the same – it can change and evolve over the years.

The plan can be referred to as a cultural trail, a cultural stairway, or cultural route, for example.

Cultural trail

A plan in which a particular art form or cultural activity or experience is selected for each age group is often called a cultural trail. For example, all third-graders in the municipality might visit a museum, fourth-graders visit a library, and fifth-graders could attend a concert.

Cultural calendar

A cultural calendar contains targeted information for teachers about the cultural services in the area as an aid in planning their teaching. The cultural calendar is usually created annually, and can include pre-scheduled and age-appropriate cultural and artistic activities for the teacher to choose from. In the background of the calendar, the municipality may also have a cultural education plan in use, specifying the principles and goals of the activities. A cultural calendar is especially suitable for municipalities where there is a lot on offer. It allows schools to choose their own areas of emphasis. On the other hand, experiencing culture in this way may not be as equal as on the cultural trail.

Cultural route

A culture education plan can also be developed around an annually changing theme of some sort. Having a changing theme is well suited to a workshop-focused plan that does not depend on the programs of cultural institutions. The changing theme provides freedom and the opportunity to address a topical theme.

Where does the money come from?

In most cases, the municipality’s educational and cultural activities share the costs of the cultural education plan. The plan ties up some of the available resources, and they are used equally for the benefit of children and young people in the whole municipality. The aim is to integrate the cultural education plan into the municipality’s local curriculum. The municipality is then obligated to implement and finance it.

A systematic approach is also cost-effective. Instead of an individual school ordering a single performance of a presentation, for example, the entire municipality can order multiple performances or a tour jointly with neighboring municipalities. Sometimes simply reorganizing the available resources can create savings, at the same time allowing at least part of the plan to be implemented.

When a wide range of actors in the field of education and culture are committed to the cultural education plan, this also ensures that significant human resources are committed to the plan. Could even two weeks a year of the working time of the staff of the municipal cultural services be reserved exclusively for children’s culture? Could a children’s culture week be extended into a children’s culture month? Could the skills and hobbies of teachers and other school staff be put to good use in carrying out the cultural education plan?

In most cases, local arts and cultural institutions are aware of the different possibilities that schools have for public events, and also invest in the implementation of the cultural education plan financially or by offering their own input. Art institutions can offer free performances or free admission. Reciprocally, the teaching profession offers pedagogical expertise and a future clientele.

Cultural education and different learning environments requires moving from place to place. However, children and young people do not always have to be transported – art can also come to schools. Short trips can be made by bike. In some municipalities, school groups are allowed to travel free of charge on public transport within the municipality. Centralization and careful planning also help reduce transportation costs. For example, one class from a school can go to the swimming pool, and another class from the same school to the museum at the same time, on one bus. Some municipalities have requested a special grant for transport from the Ministry of Education and Culture for measures to promote equality. And one can always ask: if the age group were to be transported to the museum once every nine years, would there be funds for the bus journeys?

Sometimes cultural education plans are prepared partly with action grants. Artists and cultural and artistic associations can apply for grants or other financial assistance to fund school art workshops or other activities. Internships for and thesis research by students in the fields of arts and culture can also be drawn on in planning and implementing some activities.

The plan is complete – what next?

Great, congratulations! You have created your municipality’s cultural education plan. The first stage has been completed.

The next step is to implement the cultural education plan in the schools of the municipality, and for actors in the arts and culture sector to communicate about it, and to provide cultural education according to the plan. It is a good idea to appoint a culture contact person for each school. The cultural education plan can first be piloted in a few schools before being implemented in the whole municipality.

Consider and make plans for how you will collect feedback each year, and when you will evaluate the success of the activity yourself. The key players in the development work are the culture contact persons appointed in the schools, who provide feedback on the content and success of the cultural education plan. And how can other teachers, children and young people evaluate the cultural education plan? Assess when the next development round for the plan will be held.

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