Little HYY has been there for students with a family for 20 years now


The idea for the Student Union’s own childcare service had been taking shape for a long time before it finally opened its doors in 2002. We have now been providing HYY’s members with temporary childcare help for 20 years.

Little HYY is a temporary childcare service aimed at HYY’s members. Students with a family can use the service while attending a lecture, taking an exam or visiting the FSHS, for instance. It is therefore not a day care centre as such – the service is meant as a temporary help for students with a family in their everyday life. The youngest children Little HYY provides care for are six months old.

‘For many, Little HYY is the first childcare service they use. Many people do not have relatives or other people close to them who could care for a child in the middle of the day. Parents are often also nervous about leaving their child to another person’s care’, Little HYY’s childminder, Katariina Haikala-Tikander, explains.

Even though the name and premises of the childcare service have changed over the years, its core function has remained the same. Daily activities in Little HYY consist of basic care: playing, eating and sleeping. Over the years, the activities have also included guided play and crafts, for instance. Little HYY offers both individual reservations and regular time slots. Students can reserve two regular time slots per week.

‘Most of the children are regulars who we get to know well. Sometimes, it is sad to let go of children who move to day care centres after we have got to know them and they have become used to our care’, Haikala-Tikander admits. ‘However, it is fun that we have sometimes had as many as three children from the same family in our care over the years. It is always nice to hear from a family again when a younger sibling starts in our care, for instance.’

An estimated 2,000–3,000 students at the University of Helsinki have a family with children. The first time the possibility of the Student Union’s own childcare service was suggested to support students with a family was in the 1960s, but nothing came of it at the time. After years of waiting, HYY’s childcare service was finally opened in premises located in the Main Building of the University of Helsinki on 17 September 2002. Today, the service is known as Little HYY and operates in Siltavuorenpenger on the campus of the University of Helsinki. Little HYY’s operation is funded by subsidies from the City of Helsinki, HYY’s membership fees and service fees.

‘For the continuity of Little HYY’s operation, our cooperation with both the City of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki has been significant, HYY’s specialist in social policy, Tiia Niemi, explains. ‘I hope that Little HYY’s operations continue to support students with a family in the future, too!’