Design-oriented pedagogy with Kummunkoulu school:

Welcome to the Art Forest!

Welcome to the art forest! – is a project of Kummunkoulu from the city of Outokumpu, North Karelia, Finland. It is the result of collaboration between three primary school teachers and ENO Environment Online as the school is taking part of the ENO’s Sustainable Development via Co-creation project, which uses the principes of design-oriented pedagogy (DOP) during the autumn 2021. In short DOP is anchoring the learning process to children’s ideas, thinking, conceptions and interpretations about the phenomena in question. It encourages pupils, teachers and experts to innovate so that the learners themselves can design their approach towards the study. The questions are drawn from their natural wondering and the whole study process has a strong role in a form of study diary.

Welcome to the art forest -greeting


The idea

Nearby the school there is Matovaara forest and outdoor area which is excitingly beautiful forest with walking trails, hills, high trees, dense bushes, big stones etc. A perfect fairytale forest to let the imagination flow and transform it into an art forest. The students from 1C, 3A and 3C are inventing with their teachers and ENO Environment Online specialists interesting things for there to happen while exploring the forest more profoundly. The inspiration is drawn from the forest itself and the place is then eventually transformed into a common happening for the whole school.

3 Sep 2021 The start

ENO Environment Online personnel met the school’s teachers to talk about the interests and big lines. The teachers were all into the arts so the art based approach was a very easy decision; one favoured musical aspects, one visual and craft based methods and one was interested in shelter construction and free playing. An art forest concept was born.

19 Sep 2021 Hands on

ENO Environment Online educator met the classes in the Matovaara forest one by one. A walk in the forest was realised to widen the senses. The walk had small tasks for the students in every sense (vision, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching). Some of the tasks were made alone and some in small groups. Some of the things the students had to put in their memories and some were photographed. Some of the things the students could bring into classes as a souvenir like the scent box. The next step for the classes is to start realising or continue with their artworks based on the forest visits.

A forest as a source of inspiration: looking at it from different angles, observing the colours and forms, tasting, feeling and touching it. 

Reflection by 1C class

After the sense-walk the students of 1C class made writing and drawing exercises to reflect the experience in their project diaries. Here are some of them:


 3A -class creating a song

Kummunkoulu schools 3A-class is familiar with musical approaches and they decided to create a song for the Art forest -project. The song will eventually be performed in the Art forest event in some ways. Under the guidance of the teacher Mr. Tero Suihko the class made another visit to the forest in order to collect words for the song. After the sensory walk in the forest the 3A -class wrote also a short revision of the walk in their booklets. With the writings and a word list they started forming the song lyrics by writing short sentences in small groups. Here below you can see the wordlist collected from the forest and the phrases that will be used as lyrics for the song.

Huts and plays by 1C class

Reflections of the constructions and plays in project diaries: 

Art from the nature and forest

Creating art on the spot using nature frames and objects: observing the beauty of nature and creating new meaning or concepts:

Creating art in the class based on the nature experience in the forest. Using plant print methods and traditional drawing:

18.11.2021 Exchange with the Almafuerte primary school from Argentina! 








We found an exchange school for the Art Forest project to Kummun koulu from Argentina when the Almafuerte primary school ( Escuela Primaria Nº 8 Almafuertetook part in this project. Almafuerte primary school is a small rural school in central Argentina with only 14 students. The meeting between the schools was organised on 18th November 2021 through video connection. In this meeting the Kummunkoulu students presented their project and what they have done, but also the students from Argentina had already something to show; the argentina springtime allowed the students to create the beautiful nature artworks following the example of Kummunkoulu students.

See the Kummunkoulu students presentation from here

See all the nature artworks by Argentina school students from here

Hear the Kummunkoulu students live-version of the song “Metsä on niin kaunis tänään” (Forest is so beautiful today) they created for this project. The song is sung the meeting with Almafuerte school.


February 2022: Professional recording and festival appearance!

Kummun koulu students had lots of luck – the song was chosen to be part of the Suomen suven avaus -event (Finnish summer opening -event) at Joensuu singing stage where approximately 6000 students gather together to sing the summer to start! For this sake the song Metsä on niin kaunis tänään was recorded in professional manner at the Musaliiteri Studios in Outokumpu. Marko Jolkkonen made a great arrangment of the song.


You can find the notes of the song from here:











April 2022: Creating a dance for the festival

With teacher Minna Mäkinen and hers 1C class students we had an idea to create a forest inspired dance performance along with the song to be presented at the festival. ENO environment online’s specialist Maire Turunen created the basis of the choreography and then it was worked and finalised together with the teacher and students. We sewed scrafs from the waste fabric for students to use in a dance as leafs. Practising the song was fun from the beginning!



May 2022: The song and its music video is ready!

Here is how the final version of the song came out. Music video with english subtitles and pictures of the exchange project:


19.5.2022 Second exchange meeting with the students of AlmaFuerte school in Argentina

This time it was the Argentina students’ turn to show what they have done with the Art Forest project. The seasons were opposite so when it was autumn in Finland in Argentina it was spring and vice versa. So in the first meeting the Argentinas showed us mandalas made of fresh spring flowers. Now they have made fall art works of plants when it is their autumn. This was a very happy and lively event with a lot of positive and creative energy. Here below you can see some pictures of the event and mandalas and other art works.

27.5.2022 One week to go to the festival!

Suomen suven avaus -the finnish summer opening festival will be held at 3.6.2022. So from today there is one week to go. Here’s the poster of the event. Kummun koulu students can stand at the stage with the finnish awarded rapper Pure! So great!

















3.6.2022 The Performing day at Finnish summer Opening event

What an event! And Kummunkoulu students were astonishing with their teachers.

You can watch the full event from YLE Areena during 30 days from here

Or you can watch this recorded session of Kummunkoulu part. The Dance will start at 4:38min.


This school project is done in the Sustainable Development via Co-creation project, which is funded by the Central Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.