Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A Snapshot from an Icelandic Kindergarten.

My school is hoping to be successful in an application for a new 2 year Comenius Project, funded by the British Council. We hope to be working with schools from Poland, Greece, Norway, Sweden & Iceland & will hear in early July if we have been approved or not. If we are I will have the opportunity to visit each of the schools & host a visit to our school in November.
I have enjoyed following the Icelandic partners facebook page & have shared some photos from time to time on my page, so  I was delighted when Unnur, my Icelandic colleague, agreed to send me a series of photos of her class out & about in the natural area opposite the school. You can learn more about the school on their website.

The school is called Leikskólinn Stekkjarás in the town of Hafnarfjörður which is 15 minutes from Reykjavík. There are about 180 pupils & 52 staff. They go outside everyday but spend this time in the school grounds but once a week the go outdoors away from the school for 2-3 hours in the colder months & 3-4 hours in the summer when they eat their lunch outside. They bring everything out with them on a big trolley.
Enjoying the sunnier summer weather

Unnur tells me they do sometimes take resources out with them, lego, blocks, paint brushes or small world animals but more often than not they just go to 'be' in the natural environment & allow the children to make their own resources from what they find naturally. There is a little 'nest' area, called a KRAKKALEITI where the children come together at the end of the session to talk about what they have done. This is a truly natural site, no fences or marked off areas. It reminds me so much of the kind of practice I saw in Norway, the children are encouraged to roam freely & to amuse themselves without much adult interference. This was the main thing I took away from my week spent in Norway, I learned to step back & allow the children to engage in play without my direct input.
However I am also very realistic & know that we can't lift systems from other countries & just expect them to work in our own. I have come to accept that any woodland/forest experience offered in my area will be a little more manufactured, However I hope when the wooded area planted earlier this year on the main school grounds develops we will be able to offer a more 'organic' outdoor experience.
The children like to gather in this tent in the winter.
I loved seeing photos of the children rolling their eggs down the hill - I had thought this was peculiar to Northern Ireland. 


Some of the photos show the breath taking scenery of Iceland & it's wonderful to see the children climbing on & scrabbling around rocks.
 
As you can see from the photos they go outside no matter what the weather & I loved to see photos of the children climbing trees & on rocks in the snow too.
I really, really hope I get the opportunity to visit this wonderful school & that our project is approved so I can learn so much more & introduce a little bit of Iceland to my practice.

14 comments:

  1. Perhaps the egg rolling could be linked to the fact that large number of the Viking settlers of Iceland, travelled over from their lands in Ireland - a large number would have had Irish wives? Could be a linked tradition?

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    1. LOL who knows, perhaps I should do more research on this!!

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  2. It should be mentioned that the children go outside to the playfield every day the preschool is open, this is outside the playfield. regards Kristin

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  3. I love the way they are all mucking in and helping push the trolley at the start. Great pictures of some very happy busy children.

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    1. Aren't they just so happy looking & not an expensive resource in sight! Think my fav is the trolley one too Fiona.

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  4. Got my fingers crossed for you that you get your grant. What a wonderful opportunity that would be.

    Sandi

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    1. hi Sandi, thanks so much, we were unlucky last year with an application, we were approved but no one else was. So hoping for more success this year. Loved seeing you & Pete the Cat on tour.

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  5. In Melbourne,Australia there is a Kinder not to far from us doing 'bush kinder'.Same philosopy..happens in all weather,kids have weather proof clothes provided,a portable toilet is taken&a first aid tent..that's all.The rest is just the natural environment&the children's drive&imagination:)

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    1. Hi & thanks for commenting, I think the whole outdoor approach is taking off world wide, & obviously you have very different issues in Australia thna we would have in Ireland & the UK or these children would have in Iceland. We would never have to worry about heat for instance!! I do believe more & more children are getting the opportunity to spend good quality time in nature.

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  6. I hope you get the grant Kierna! I didn't realize that you were in the other side of the world! It's great! I travel on my own to other schools here in the states and it's always a learning -inspiring experience. Good Luck!

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    1. Thanks, so do I!! So glad you figured out how to comment & I agree visiting other settings is a great way to learn.

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