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.|
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.