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March 19, 2019 - March 23, 2019

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LIFE2019 SHADOWING EXPERIENCE is new way to get even deeper into the famous Finnish education. Understand how everyday life works in Finnish schools by shadowing Finnish teachers and by listening to the top Finnish education experts, such as Aulis Pitkälä, former President of Finnish National Agency for Education.

This unique training program, organized by VisitEDUfinn in co-operation with the University of Lapland, offers an exclusive opportunity to visit Finnish kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. In addition to school visits and lectures, you may take part in social program, such as city of Rovaniemi reception and dinner, which are all included in the fee. The theme for LIFE2019 is: Equity – A Cornerstone Of Finnish Education.

LIFE2019 takes place right by the Arctic Circle, in the city of Rovaniemi, also known as the official hometown of Santa Claus. During the event, you have an opportunity to meet him in person and participate in many other awesome winter adventures. This time the program dates are March 19-23, which is an excellent time to visit Lapland. There is still a full winter with tons of snow but more daylight and the temperatures, while below zero, don’t reach extreme cold which might occur between December and February. The main venue for event is Scandic Rovaniemi City.

If you took part in the previous forums, LIFE2018 or LIFE2017, we warmly welcome you to join us again. Based on the feedback, we have changed the program so that there would be more interaction with Finnish teachers and that the experience in general would be even better than last two years.

There are only room for 80 persons, so book now to secure your participation!

See you in Rovaniemi!

Visit LIFE2019 Facebook event site>>


The key purpose of LIFE2019 is to see in person how learning takes place in Finnish kindergartens and schools by shadowing Finnish teachers. You can choose the age range to ensure it is tailored to your needs. If you want to know more about pre-primary education, note that in Finland it normally takes place in kindergartens. Here are the age ranges for each visit:

Kindergarten (age 0–6)
Primary school (age 7–12)
Secondary school (age 13–15)
High School/Vocational college (age 16–18)

During the shadowing, you will observe teachers and children in their activities, and ask them about their daily teaching practices. After the last visit, there is a short group session to discuss and share your experiences with the staff from the visited unit and with your colleagues. This session will offer you with a great opportunity to share and elicit ideas inspired by the school visits.

LIFE2019 offers interesting expert presentations focusing on different aspects of Finnish education system. In addition to general presentations, you may participate in an optional workshop about Playful Learning organized by the University of Lapland.

Tentative program for LIFE2019 – Please note that changes are possible.

Tue 19th
16:00 – 17:30 Registration at Scandic Rovaniemi City (coffee available)
17:30 – 18:00 Opening LIFE2019
18:00 – 20:00 Olga LappiKey points to understand the Finnish perspective of education
20:30 – 21:30 City Council Reception and light dinner

Wed 20th
09:00 – 12:30 Kindergarten/School visits (incl. lunch)
13:00 – 13:45 Aulis PitkäläEnsuring the Quality of Education -how is it done at local level
13:45 – 14:00 Break
14:00 – 14:45 Eeva PenttiläHigh quality education for every child -Special Support and Education in Finnish
14:45 – 15:00 Break
15:00 – 16:00 Markus HumalojaEquity in future society – Learning skills with Flipped Learning
18:00 – 21:00 Optional Winter activity (Snowmobile drive to reindeer farm)

Thu 21st
09:00 – 12:30 Kindergarten/School visits (incl. lunch)
13:00 – 14:00 Leena HeiniläCulture-Sensitive Approach in Finnish Education: Who am I and where do I come from – a joy of sharing and learning together
14:00 – 14:15 Break
14:15 – 14:45 Marjaana KangasPlayful learning in theory and practice
14:45 – 15:00 Break
15:00 – 16:00 Sari Kontra: Active learning in Finnish schools – physical activity contributing pupils’ schoolwork
20:00 – 24:00 Optional Winter activity (Aurora Borealis Adventure)

Fri 22nd
09:00 – 12:30 Kindergarten/School visits (incl. lunch)
12:30 – 13:30 Wrap-up -session at schools
14:30 – 17:00 Optional Workshop: Playful learning Adventure SOLD OUT!
19:00 – 21:00 Farewell Dinner with a visit from Santa

Sat 23rd
Time to explore Lapland, optional Winter activities:
12:45 – 15:15 Husky Safari
16:00 – 18:30 NEW! Optional Workshop: Playful learning Adventure
19:00 – 21:00 Ice Restaurant Dinner Experience

IMPORTANT! If there are differences between the brochure and the website, you can count on the website as it has updated information.



Aulis Pitkälä has an exceptional career in the field of Education. During the years 2012-2016 Aulis responded a valued task of Director General in Finnish National Agency for Education and nowadays he works as a Deputy Mayor of Education and Cultural Services in the city of Espoo. In 2017 he was awarded with honorary title by the President of the Republic of Finland for his distinguished career in education.


Eeva Penttilä has a long and varied career in education both in Finland and on the international level. After working as a teacher and principal, she was elected president of ESHA – The European School Heads´ Association with 17000 members. After the presidency, the city of Helsinki asked her to use her expertise for the benefit of its schools as the first Head of International Relations in the Education Department.


Olga Lappi works as Senior Adviser in the Information and analysis unit at the Finnish National Agency for Education. She has worked as a teacher and also in education administration at local level. Olga has a thorough knowledge and understanding of European and global education and training issues having worked closely with European networks and is closely involved in the OECD TALIS teacher study. Her areas of special interest and expertise are vocational education and training, teachers and equity in education.


Leena Heinilä is experienced teacher who has worked not only in Finnish schools but outside Finland as well. She is also an education advisor, teacher educator, administrator, researcher with interest on students self-efficacy and welfare. 


Marjaana Kangas, Ph.D, is a university lecturer and a researcher at University of Lapland. She is a forerunner of the research on playful learning in pre and primary education in Finland, and a co-developer of a “playful learning environment”, an innovative play and game-based learning environment designed for 21st century learning (e.g. Kangas, 2010; Kangas & Ruokamo, 2012). Her doctoral dissertation “The School of the Future: Theoretical and Pedagogical Approaches for Creative and Playful Learning Environments”, was rewarded by Lea Pulkkinen Award in 2012. Since 2003, she has worked as a researcher in many innovative research projects (Let’s Play, PlayIT, InnoPlay, InnoSchool, Omnischool), and participated in the development work of playful learning environments, and focused on the research on the best practices in the future school.


Markus Humaloja has long experience as a class teacher. The teaching method and associated learning culture developed by Markus have recently roused extensive interest both in Finland and abroad. Markus views the future as full of potential for learning and believes that technology will enable limitless learning opportunities for all learners. 


Sari Kontra is an elementary school teacher who would rather take her students outdoors to learn than stay and teach in a traditional classroom environment. She believes that by incorporating physical activity and new forms of functionality and devices into teaching, we can tackle many of today’s challenges in the field of education. She currently works at the International School of Vantaa close to Helsinki, Finland.


Want to learn new pedagogical skills in innovative ways? Join this special workshop uniquely designed for LIFE2019 participants.

Date and time: Friday 22th, 14:30 – 17:00 SOLD OUT -> NEW WORKSHOP: Saturday 23rd, 16:00 – 18:30

Place: The Arctic Circle
Group size: 10 – 20 persons
Price: € 250 (EXCL. VAT 24%) /participant
Includes: Transportation from the hotel Scandic Rovaniemi, workshop, snacks and a handmade souvenir from Lapland.
Trainer: Marjaana Kangas
Booking: as part of the LIFE2018 online registration process

Playful Learning Workshop in the Arctic Circle invites educators to engage in creative and playful activities and pedagogies, and participate in mind-on, hands-on and body-on activities. What is playful learning and how the pedagogy of playful learning can support learning, academic achievement and key competencies? We have a rich over 15-years experience on designing and teaching creative and playful learning. The aim of the workshop is to provide ideas and tools through practical experiences of playful learning to take home for developing 21st century education.


Marjaana Kangas (PhD, Title of Docent) is a university researcher at University of Lapland. She is a forerunner of the research on playful learning in education in Finland, and a co-developer of a “playful learning environment”, a play and game-based learning environment designed for 21st century learning. Since 2003, she has worked as a researcher in many innovative research projects (Let’s Play, PlayIT, InnoPlay, InnoSchool, Omnischool) focusing on the research of playful learning and the best practices in the future school. Home page: www.marjaanakangas.net  


Rovaniemi City Reception and light dinner

Tuesday 19 March at 20:30 – 21:30

Rovaniemi City Reception in Rovaniemi City Hall (Hallituskatu 7). There is a 10 minute walk from the Scandic Rovaniemi, where the opening is taking place. LIFE2019 organizers will lead the participants to the City Hall and back to the hotel. 

Price: Included in the registration fee for all attendees. 

Conference Dinner

Friday 22 March at 19:00 – 21:00

Conference dinner will be organized at the LIFE2019 venue Scandic Rovaniemi in the city center. 

Price: Included in the registration fee for all attendees. 

Winter Activities

Wednesday 20, Thursday 21, Saturday 23 March

For our both LIFE2019 participants and accompanying persons we have organized an exclusive winter activity program in the surrounding areas of Rovaniemi. 


To get inspired you can have a look at www.laplandsafaris.com.For both LIFE2019 participants and accompanying persons we have organized an exclusive winter activity program (registration before March 3rd, 2019). In order to participate in these activities, please register using the following link:



18:00 – 21:00 Snowmobile Safari to Reindeer Farm

A snowmobile safari to a reindeer farm. First you will learn about our Lappish culture and reindeer husbandry. Everyone who passes a reindeer-driving test will be issued an international reindeer driver’s license and you have the possibility of participating in a special Lapp ceremony of crossing the Arctic Circle. Enjoy a cup of hot coffee or berry juice before returning back to town. NOTE! In this safari two participants share a snowmobile, single driver option available.
DURATION: 3 hours
PRICE: € 157 (adults) / € 79 (children 4-14 years)
Min. 10 persons


20:00 – 24:00 Aurora Borealis Adventure

After stepping out of the car in the middle of nowhere, we walk down to a river experiencing the surrounding sleeping nature. We reach the best spot to see the northern sky, but be patient the aurora loves playing hide-and-seek; we never know if or when they can show up! While enjoying the peace of nature we fry sausages surrounded by the great aroma of the fire. Before returning to civilization, we drop by a cosy old building “Poro-Pekan Pirtti”. The hosts warmly welcome us and show us their dwelling, which takes us into the past. This relaxing escape will definitely satisfy all our senses. Transfer to the wilderness and back by car (50 km one way).
DURATION: 4 hours
PRICE: € 114 (adults) / € 57 (children 4-14 years)
Min. 10 persons – Max. 45 persons


12:45 – 15:15 Husky Safari 10km

Wintertime safari with husky teams. After a short drive from town, we’ll arrive at a husky ranch, where these friendly dogs will bark an enthusiastic welcome to you. Before departing on the safari, you will be given instruction on how to control the sleds. Enjoy some hot berry juice by an open fire and chat with the head musher about these amazing northern animals once you return to the ranch.
DURATION: 2,5 hours including transfers (husky drive approx. 1h 15mins) 
PRICE: € 172 (adults) / € 129 (children 4-14 years)
Min. 10 persons – Max. 40 persons

Please note:

– On Husky Safari 10km, children will sit on a big sledge with all the other children and the guide from the Husky Farm is driving the sledge – this is purely for safety reasons.
– Two adults share one sledge

19:00 – 21:00 Ice Restaurant Dinner Experience

The world’s only ice restaurant located exactly on the Arctic Circle, Santa Claus’ home turf. The Ice Restaurant’s unique atmosphere is a ”must see” for everyone visiting Rovaniemi. Incredibly beautiful ice sculptures, exciting details and a menu created from local ingredients will all add to an unforgettable experience. The delicious set menu includes an appetizer, main course and dessert. Welcome drink is served from ice glass in the Ice Bar before dinner. Join us for an unforgettable evening! Have a look at the menu choices HERE>>
DURATION: 1,5 hours
PRICE: € 109 (adults) / 54,90 € (children 3-12 years)
Min. 10 persons – Max. 50 persons

IMPORTANT NOTICE: You should be at the Lapland Safaris’ office located right in the center of Rovaniemi 30 minutes before the activities start except for Ice Restaurant Dinner Experience: the bus leaves from Scandic Rovaniemi. Be there at 18:30.


Looking for daily activities for accompanying persons? Please contact directly the well-known operator Lapland Safaris:info@laplandsafaris.fi. They have plenty of amazing options for each day and you will be taken care of by a very professional team.


Want a unique experience that you will never forget?

Spend the last night of your trip in the Snow or Igloo hotel (more information below).

We have made a bulk reservation for LIFE2019 venue Scandic Rovaniemi City. The buses for the school visits also leave from that hotel. As March is still high season in Rovaniemi we recommend booking your hotel room quickly – our quota is quite limited and many of the hotels are already fully booked. Please note that hotel quota will be released 18 February. After that date rooms for the special rates cannot be guaranteed.

The booking for accommodation is separated from the online registration for LIFE2019. For booking in Scandic, please use this link: SCANDIC ONLINE RESERVATION>>. Then choose the hotel (Scandic Rovaniemi), introduce the dates and add booking code BVIS190319. 

The special rates for LIFE2019 participants in Scandic Rovaniemi are:

Single room 137€/night
Double 157€/night

Single room 157€/night
Double 177€/night

Room rates include buffet breakfast, service and VAT.

Important information about the LIFE2019 bookings:

– Valid for stays between 18.-24.3.2019
– Booking code valid until 18.2.2019
– Reservations must be guaranteed with a credit card

Cancellation policy for LIFE2019 bookings: 

– Reservations can be changed or cancelled until 18:00 local time on the day of arrival
– Cancellations made after 18.00 on arrival day incur in a charge of full room rate.

Want a unique experience that you will never forget? 

Spend the last night of your trip in the Snow Hotel or Igloo! Booking directly to the hotels (links blow).

 Santa’s Igloos Arctic Circle
– Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos
– Igloo Hotel (The place for Dinner at Ice Restaurant on Saturday evening)

Other accommodation options in the city center (booking directly to the hotel/hostel):

– Café Hostel Koti
– Economy Hotel Rudolf
– Hotel Aakenus
– Scandic Pohjanhovi
– Scandic Polar
– City Hotel
– Sokos Hotel Vaakuna
– Hotel Santa Claus
– Hotel Arctic Light



All participants should register for the conference. Please read all information below before using the event online registration forms to register for LIFE2019, to book your accommodation in Scandic Rovaniemi and the winter activities with Lapland Safaris.






Registration categories 

Early bird fee (until 31 October 2018) 

Standard fee (1 November – 31 January 2019) 

Late/On-site fee (after 31 January 2019)

Normal680 €780 €880 €
Student*480 €580 €680 €
Accompanying person150 €200 €250 €

*Students: please send a proof of a full-time student status (ID card or letter from your institution or program director) by email life2019@visitedufinn.com 

The registration fee for participants and students includes:

– Admission to all sessions
– Conference materials
– School visits
– Coffee/tea during breaks mentioned in the program and lunches during the school visits
– Rovaniemi City Reception 19 March
– Conference Dinner with Santa’s visit 22 March
– Certificate of attendance
– Possibility to participate on special workshop Playful Learning Adventure designed for LIFE2019 (additional fee 250 €, EXCL. VAT 24 %)
– Possibility to participate on special winter activities designed for LIFE2019 (additional fees apply) REGISTER HERE>>

The registration fee for accompanying person includes:

– Rovaniemi City Reception 19 March
– Conference Dinner with Santa’s visit 22 March
– Possibility to participate on special winter activities designed for LIFE2019 (additional fees apply) REGISTER HERE>>


Please choose your payment type on the online registration form. The options are 

– Online credit card payment (Visa, MasterCard, American Express)
– Bank transfer. The invoice with the necessary information will be sent to you with the confirmation email. The participant should assume all the bank transaction fees. 

Please note that all payments must be made in advance and in euros (€). 

IMPORTANT: For VAT exemption you need to register as a representative/employee of a company or organization and present a tax certificate from your country. The certificates needs to be send by email at life2019@visitedufinn.com in order to get a link for a registration and invoicing without VAT.

Cancellation Policy 

All cancellations must be made by email to life2019@visitedufinn.com. If you do not cancel your participation at all, you will be charged the full fee. 

For cancellations received by 31 October 2018, the paid registration fee will be refunded. No refunds will be made for cancellations made after this date. Please note that a processing fee of 50 € will be deducted from all refunds. If unable to attend, the registered person may substitute someone else from the same organisation by sending a notification to life2019@visitedufinn.com. 

Any questions about practical arrangements, registration, hotel booking and payments? Please contact life2019@visitedufinn.com


Rovaniemi is the administrative capital and commercial centre of Finland´s Lapland.

The city is about 800 km north from Helsinki, the capital of Finland. In the past few decades Rovaniemi has grown into a busy and active town with now more than 61.000. Rovaniemi is also the educational centre of Lapland and there are two universities located in Rovaniemi. The University of Lapland is the northernmost university in Finland and in the European Union. Lapland University for Applied Sciences has its home base in Rovaniemi. The unique location of Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle has attracted more than 400.000 tourists each year from all over the world. For information about Rovaniemi, visit www.rovaniemi.fi.

How to get there

Despite its northern location, Rovaniemi is well connected to the rest of the world. From abroad, the town is easiest to get to by about one hour flight via Helsinki. Daily flights between Rovaniemi and Helsinki are operated by Finnair and Norwegian throughout the year. In addition, more and more airlines offer direct flights to Rovaniemi. For instance, Norwegian flies from London and Germania from Berlin.


Having problems finding proper flights between Helsinki and Rovaniemi? Night train and sleeping compartment can be an interesting, exotic and economic option for those who don’t want to stay extra night in Helsinki or Rovaniemi. There are two night trains available every day and the trains during the daylight offer a good opportunity to see more of Finland. Visit www.vr.fi/en for more information.

How to get from the airport/railway station to the hotels

Airport Express – bus from Airport to the city centre and back – drives to all the centre hotels as well as bus station, ca. 15 minutes, price 7 € / person. Airport Express departs from the airport after every flight arrival. Check your hotel reception about the pickup time from your hotel back to the airport. For further information call +358 (0)16 – 362 222. 

Airport Taxi: Cars available at the airport when flights arrive. Airport Taxi transports in the city area and surroundings. Price 10-12 € / person, takes more than one customer at the same time (car pool). For further information call +358 (0)16 – 362 222. 

Normal Taxi: Price from the airport to the city centre ca. 20 €. Phone +358 (0)200 88 000.

The railway station is located about 1.5 kilometres from the city centre. There is no direct bus connection. The easiest way to get to the hotel is to either walk or to take a taxi. 


Car rentals

All major car rentals have an office in Rovaniemi for those who are interested in traveling around the surrounding areas and Lapland by themselves. 


Finnish taxis are reliable and accept credit cards. The following taxi companies operate in Rovaniemi:

Rovaniemi Taxi Services, tel: +358 60 030 030 / +358 29 009 1090; email: info@rovaniementaksipalvelu.fi

Taxi Rovaniemi, tel: +358 16 106 410; email: info@taxirovaniemi.fi

Weather in Rovaniemi

March is still a full winter month in Lapland, average temperate being -6,1. Have that in mind when choosing your clothing. For the winter activities, however, there is always proper clothing available for the participants. Please visit the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website for updated news on weather in Rovaniemi HERE>>


The official languages in Finland are Finnish and Swedish but practically everyone knows basic English, and especially the people involved in tourism speak very good English. The LIFE2019 language is English.


The Finnish currency unit is the Euro. You can exchange foreign currency and traveller’s cheques either in banks, airport or hotels. There are numerous cash machines (ATMs) open around the clock and accepting all major credit cards. Major credit cards, in particular Visa, Eurocard and Mastercard are widely accepted almost everywhere (in hotels, restaurants, shops, taxis, cafeterias, bars, etc.).


The electric current in Finland is 230V, 50Hz. Plugs are two-pin continental size.


The time in Finland is GMT+2


For additional information about practical arrangements, registration and payments, please contact: 

VisitEDUfinn Ltd.
Gadolininkatu 1 B 73
00560 Helsinki, Finland
Tel. +358 409 684 987
Email: life2019@visitedufinn.com

For additional information about the WINTER ACTIVITIES, please contact:

Lapland Safaris
Koskikatu 1
96200 Rovaniemi 
Tel: +358 16 33 11 200 
E-mail: info@laplandsafaris.fi

For additional information about the hotel bookings in SCANDIC ROVANIEMI, please contact:

Scandic Rovaniemi
Koskikatu 23
96200 Rovaniemi
Tel. +358 16 460 6000
E-mail: MEETING.rovaniemi@scandichotels.com


March 19, 2019
March 23, 2019


+358 407 516 478


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