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Amira (left), Semir, Fatima G., Fatima A., and Minea are preschoolers at Inkerinpuisto Daycare, which celebrates its 125th anniversary. “The best thing about preschool is friends!”

Article categories: News

Inkerinpuisto Daycare celebrates its 125 years in operation

Published: 18.3.2024

Updated: 27.3.2024

Vaasa’s oldest Finnish-speaking daycare, Inkerinpuisto Daycare, turns 125 this spring. Located in Hietalahti, the daycare consists of eight groups, two of which are Swedish language immersion groups.

Preparations for the daycare’s 125th anniversary have involved engaging the children in planning the celebrations and familiarising them with old traditional games, songs, rhymes, and fairy tales.

– The children have decorated the premises with a 125 theme, for example, by crafting 125 different banners, 125 hearts, and stamping 125 small footprints on paper. The highlight of our week of celebrations was a communal outdoor event for the entire daycare on March 7, says daycare director Heli Kemppi.

Children have decorated the daycare premises with a 125 theme: here we have 125 small footprints.

“Is this the oldest daycare in the world?”

Vaasan Suomalainen Kansanlastentarha (Finnish Folk Kindergarten) began its operations on March 1, 1899. After various events and locations, it evolved into Inkerinpuisto Daycare, which has been located on Pitkäkatu in Hietalahti since 1960.

Kemppi explains that discussions with the children have included exploring what 125 years means and how long a period it actually is.

– We even got questions like “is this the world’s oldest daycare”, Kemppi laughs.

Savouring letters and numbers at preschool

The Lemmikit (Pets) preschool group at Inkerinpuisto Daycare operates in connection with Hietalahti School. Amira, Fatima A, Fatima G, Minea, and Semir from the Lemmikit group find preschool enjoyable.

– We get to play with friends, and there are a lot more toys here than at home, says Minea.

– I feel happy when there are many children here, describes Fatima G.

– Usually, I don’t really want to come here in the morning, but then when it’s time to go home in the afternoon, I don’t want to go home, reflects Amira.

The children mention that besides playing, they have also been practicing letters and numbers. Fatima A. informs us that she can count to one hundred.

– I’ve counted to two hundred in bed when I had to try to sleep, Semir reveals.

Inkerinpuisto Daycare

  • Eight groups: 6 Finnish-speaking and 2 Swedish language immersion groups
  • Operates in three different units: Pitkäkatu 76–78 and Ravikatu 9 (pre-primary education)

History of Inkerinpuisto Daycare

  • Vaasa’s Finnish Folk Kindergarten commenced operations on March 1, 1899.
  • Initially, the Finnish Folk Kindergarten operated at various addresses. In 1930, the kindergartens came under city administration, leading to a relocation to Kauppapuistikko 48.
  • In 1952, the name of the Finnish kindergarten was changed to Hietalahti Kindergarten.
  • In 1960, the kindergarten relocated to its current address at Lastenkodinkatu 8, where a children’s home and a boys’ home had previously operated.
  • The 1973 law on childcare changed the names of kindergartens to daycares. At that time, Hietalahti Kindergarten became Hietalahti Daycare.
  • In 1980, the wooden house on Lastenkodinkatu was renamed Inkerinpuisto Daycare. Hietalahti Daycare was located in the adjacent brick building on Pitkäkatu.
  • In the 2000s, Inkerinpuisto Daycare (Lastenkodinkatu) and Hietalahti Daycare (Pitkäkatu 78) merged under the name Inkerinpuisto Daycare.
Children at Inkerinpuisto Daycare have had the chance to explore an exhibition from olden times, showcasing old toys and items that have been in use at the daycare over the years.