Friday, 6 June 2014

Outdoor Play Party - an international friendship!

This weeks Outdoor Play Party is a guest post from Unnur Henrys a colleague & friend from Iceland:
This post is going to be about a friendship thanks to Facebook and social media.
It all started with a comment I made on a wall to someone I knew nothing about. I got a reply very quickly from a woman called Kierna Corr, asking me if I was interested in a partnership in a Comenius project between few countries. After getting the permission from my principal we went ahead and started talking on FB about outdoor teaching, sharing ideas, and our shared passions for our work.
Not long after that, Kierna Corr had the chance to come and see me in Iceland through a project organised by Fafu. Fafu had compiled a team of 30 fun people, from across England, Ireland and America. They all had the same passion for outdoors as we do. One of them was the one and only Martin Besford that has inspired us both with his work and passion for his Outdoor pre-school at Highway Farm. We hit it off and became good friends, messaging and talking and sharing good practice. 
Staff & children play together & the tyre walk created by the adults.
The amazing boat 'Highway' created by the fab Highway Farm Team.
I was lucky enough to get to visit Highway Farm in December last year with few of my colleagues. It took a bit of organising but was the second link in strengthening our friendship further. It is indescribable what I felt about the Farm, wow wow it is an amazing place. Martin and I continued to communicate and he wanted to bring his whole team to Iceland, to share good practice, deliver some training and help us build some outdoor spaces. So I went ahead and helped them to organize the trip.
Lucky for us in Stekkjaras, the one and only Andy Byles (a really good friend of Highway Farm) came with them and he and the Highway Farm team came up with a great mud kitchen, a boat in the sand pit, called Highway, some dens and lots of great ideas for us to use in our outdoor space. On the second day we got a quick glance into how their team works, when they had a short workshop for all the staff. We made some floating natural boats to take outside to play with in the first half of the workshop and then we got to go outside and use it with all the kids around. They found it quite strange to see the teachers play together without them! After a quick refreshment of coffee, milk and a biscuit all the kids, all the teachers at Stekkjaras and all the Highway farm team went out to play together.
Some of the amazing new additions to the playground.
The incredible mud kitchen created by Martin & the Highway Farm Team.

 And wow wow wow the place was buzzing with energy and laughter, some water being splashed, some more dens being built and everybody having so much fun. The other amazing thing, is the ripple effect that this visit has had, is now beginning to show, other local settings inspired to start transforming their spaces. Hopefully this is just the start of isnpiration that joining together can have. If we all share and pool skills and resources, fantastic things can happen and magic can do its work.
I know that I have made friends for life with these like minded people, Martin Besford and the staff at Highway farm and Kierna Corr. Thank you so much, all of you for the inspiring talks, help and kind words when needed.
I am already planning my next trip to Highway Farm to work as an extra pair of hands and see the many changes since my last visit in December. I am told a joint project at Highway Farm is in the air........

Unnur Henrys
Leikskolinn Stekkjaras 

Once again, thanks to all who linked up & supported the last Outdoor Play Party, my featured post from the last linky is from Rain or Shine Mama on how her grandparents got her hooked on nature.
  • Any kind of children's outdoor play-related posts are welcome!
  • We'd appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we'll gladly further share your post on FacebookTwitterPinterestPlease feel free to grab the Outdoor Play Party button from the sidebar and/or include a text link back. Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured.(If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the 'featured' button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week!

12 comments:

  1. What you have achieved with your connections in Iceland is amazing. A great opportunity to share ideas and not just in theory but actually visiting. Lovely to see the Highway boat and all the creative ideas being shared.

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    1. Thanks Fiona, it is always good to share ideas & even better when you get to meet up face to face to do so.

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  2. Every play here is so creative and enjoyable with the kids' smiles as a proof =) #countrykids

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    1. True & yet none of it comes from expensive resources. Thanks for popping over from #countrykids

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  3. What an amazing place - so many inspirational ideas. #countrykids

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    1. Aren't there just! I love the fishing net under the slide. Thanks for visiting from #countrykids

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  4. I love this post! It reminds me of the friendships I have built up through Forest Schools. There is something special about meeting people who are inspired by the same things as you and have the same passion. It certainly sounds like you have friends for life!

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    1. So true, Leila. It is always great to meet others on the same wave length.

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  5. Love this post! Love all the crate creations :-) Love that the kids could build a den without everyone freaking out it was going to fall down on them! :-)

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    1. Apologies for the delay! Blame the summer term & holidays, doesn't it look like so much fun?

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  6. Hi Kierna
    My name is Bec. I have stumbled across your blog while searching forest kinders and preschools in Iceland. Where is your preschool? Im in Melbourne, Australia and I was wondering if Unnur at Leikskolinn Stekkjaras was open to having other early years educators (me) visit to observe their program and practices? I dont seem to be able to translate their website.

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    1. Hi Bec, do you want to get in touch with me via email & I can see if Unnur & her school are open to a visit, I'm sure they will be! kcorr365@icloud.com

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