Saturday, 4 February 2017

Introducing two year olds to the wider outdoors - guest post from Iceland.

This post is written by Unnur Henrysdottir, a preschool colleague from Hafnarfjordur in Iceland who I was fortunate enough to connect with over 4 years ago and have subsequently visited on 2 occasions. She is an inspiring practitioner and has been so kind to give us a little glimpse into how she introduces her youngest pupils to the wider outdoor experience beyond the playground.
Lesley ( from Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School)  Unnur & myself in Reykjavik last October.
Unnur writes: Here is a little inside into our trips with the youngest students in my class to the woods.This year my class has four different age groups and the youngest in the group are just two, so even though the walk to our woods is not that long it can be little difficult for short feet fully clothed in thick winter overalls. 
 My motto is to go and explore, have fun and maybe come back with some stones or sticks if we are lucky. With the younger children, rather than go on the same day every week we go when the weather is decent.  The older group goes every Tuesday, good weather or not. In the big woods were we take the older children to, it's full of places with trees to crawl between and places to get lost. So instead of going there and feeling like I would be stopping the younger ones from exploring what ever they want to I was lucky enough to find a more open space for us to practice. 
There are still some trees to use, there is a mysterious house/cabin there with a door but no keyhole so how do we go about opening this mysterious door?  And there is a big fish tank there full of gravel to play with. There is even a big trolley there to sit in and play with.

We always take our school trolley with us and in that we put things like drinks, snacks and few things to play with, like dices, magnifying glasses, a white cloth to write on or use to look at things we find and would like to explore better. It is always good when you can go out to play and explore and follow the children's curiosity. 

I find that because we keep going to the same place, we find the children get confident in what they are going to do and are more capable of taking on new challenges which is what I like to see with my group. 

Until next time best regards from us in Blásteinn Iceland 

You can follow more of the adventures of this wonderful preschool here over on Facebook:ás-leikskóli-344648402319950/

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Lots & Lots of outdoor fun!

The weather has been so changeable recently, either very cold and dry or mild and wet. I'm honestly not sure which I prefer because although the drier weather is welcome the cold isn't & yet on the damp, wet, mild days everyone gets wet & dirty whilst playing in the playground! But then the damp weather provides lots of water for the mud kitchen.
The children have had fun building outdoors, playing with clay to & making patterns with sticks etc. 
A fire with popcorn & marshmallows.
A clay spider.
For 6 weeks we will be having 3 outdoor mornings as the children are taking part in a 6 week programme with Aidan from Sporty Tots and it's easier to have the room set up for lunch & play outside whilst 1/2 the class at a time goes over to the main school hall for a 30 minute session of Sporty Tots. Our other outdoor mornings are Tuesday, when we have our fire and Thursday when we go to visit Bear Woods. This year, the class are loving their time up in Bear Woods and can easily put in 45 minutes climbing on the log snake, rolling down the slope, climbing up the slope, cooking in the mud kitchen, chatting to their older siblings in the main school over the fence and looking for buds and leaves & signs of Spring. A few years ago one of our caretakers built seats up in Bear Woods for the class to sit on at snack time and this year one child discovered that it's possible to roll a ball along the seats & it has become a popular game with this class - one child sits at each end of the bench and they roll the ball between them, it works as well on the ones on the slope as the one at the top on the slope. It is lovely to watch the children playing together and laughing as they try to roll the ball up the bench. 

The benches are perfect for rolling a ball up & down.
Today 3 boys stood in the den and watched over the fence at the nursery below, the school carpark, the delivery vans  & the traffic passing by the school. They had a wonderful conversation about how some of the delivery men had taken all the toys from the nursery to turn them into food, they were able to tell me exactly what item would be a certain piece of food e.g. the bouncers were to be roast potatoes!
Watching the world go by!