Campus for sports

The cultural heritage of the Seminaarinmäki campus for sports. In addition to cultural activities, the Teacher Seminary and schools also brought sports and physical activities to Jyväskylä on a larger scale.

Uno Cygnaeus, the founder of the Jyväskylä Teacher Seminary and father of the Finnish primary school institution, emphasised the significance of physical activity and manual skills alongside knowledge acquisition. Physical educatio, PE was part of the weekly teaching schedule of the Teacher Seminary. The aim was to nurture the joy of moving in future teachers, who would then convey it to their pupils. Health and temperance education was also a central part of PE.

Men were active in different sports, such as apparatus gymnastics, fencing, various games, skiing, swimming, and skating. Female students’ PE education initially focused on gymnastics without apparatus; in addition, classes included diverse outdoor activities, ball games, skating, and skiing. Finnish folk dances and faster-moving ball games such as Finnish baseball (pesäpallo) were later added to the women’s PE programme. The sports and gymnastics clubs within the Jyväskylä Teacher Seminary included such names as the men’s club Jyskyt, its female equivalent Jyskyttäret, and the club for male teachers called Ukon voima.

In the days of the Teacher Seminary, the entire Seminaarinmäki area with its park could be utilised for PE. The main facilities for outdoor sports were the Kalteva field at the north-eastern edge of Seminaarinmäki and Moirislampi pond close to it. The field was used for running competitions, women’s gymnastics exhibitions and playing ball games. The Kalteva field mainly disappeared when the adjacent street Voionmaankatu was broadened in the 1960s.

Sports facilities were also available outside of the Teacher Seminary area. As early as in the 1880s, an outdoor swimming pool building was constructed for Seminary students by Lake Jyväsjärvi. Students skated and held skiing competitions on Jyväsjärvi ice in the winter; they even got a special day off for skating when the lake had frozen. Since the 1910s, the Hippos area and sports park started to be developed in the vicinity of Seminaarinmäki, first known as a shooting range and trotting track. In addition, a sports ground was built on the Harju ridge in 1926 for ball games and athletics, which were gaining more popularity. The campus of the College of Education designed by Alvar Aalto between 1950 and the early 1970s made Aalto Park and its sports ground a centre of physical education and activities, also including sports halls and swimming halls.