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The Finnish RIDEF Participants

Here are two of the four finnish RIDEF participants: Päivi Ristolainen et Leîla Terholehto-Säteri

They come from Helsinki. They work at Strömberg Freinet School. They have 9 classes there, one of them with handicapped children. Päivi is the headmaster. In many classes there are two levels of age. This depends on the number of children and of the teachers. They choose their methods free in a given framework. The state and the city of Helsinki have moved towards Freinet in the 1980s already. Every school developes it's own curriculum. The Strömberg school is located in a former factory, which allowed them to build more rooms for workshops. There the children work mostly. That's why two classes can share one room. They have only very few school books. The children collect their research in different booklets. They also overtake some duties. They help in all school activities: the garden, the kitchen, the library, the maintenance of the turtle Pertsa. In the education of the children there are no hierarchies. Everybody is responsible. Parents are welcome. 

The school closes for the young at midi and for the older pupils at 2 pm.  After the kids have had their free meal they can go in the afternoon to a playground near by were they can play or do their homework with the help of other Freinet teachers.

The other two RIDEF participants come from the east of Finland. 

Kyosti Timonen is working in the Consortium of Vocational Colleges in North Karelia which consists nowadays 720 teachers and about 8000 from age 16. The training lasts three years and after that they become hairdressers, cooks, plumbers etc.  

The Freinet-work begun at the beginning of 90'ies in the university with teacher, studycounsellor and special educator training and continued with the students and teachers/ trainers in vocational college Joensuu, Finland. 

The previous work was to run a college as a principal ( 152 teachers, 3500 students) and now the work is run the project which aims to better understanding and skill of teaching in the consortium of North Karelia with Freinet-methods. Kyosti is a class teacher, study counsellor, supervisor and Licentiate in Education. Nantes is his 5th Freinet meeting.  

Risto Patrikainen is a class teacher in the teacher training school in Joensuu and a docent in the Faculty of Education in the Univesity of Eastern Finland. His Freinet membership starts from 1988 being at the same time a member of finnish Freinet organisation (Elamankoulu). Nantes is Risto's eighth Ridef. More than 20 years Risto has trained finnish teachers both Freinet-pedagogy and learning theories. He has worked as a head master in the teacher training school for 5 years in Joensuu. Risto is a class teacher and the Doctor of Education. 

All four of them feel that Ridef-conferences give plenty of chances for communication and international cooperation.