Saturday, 12 October 2019

Erasmus Plus KA2 Finland

Our school is involved in a two year Erasmus Plus KA2 Project 'European New Generation' with preschools from Denmark, Turkey, Croatia, Finland and Greece. You can read some more about the project in this post:

So far we have all met up in Turkey and N.Ireland and then this past week we had our third meeting in Finland. Our project is all about STEM/STEAM in the early years curriculum and at some of the meetings the partners share some games for the children in the host school to enjoy playing. This has been a great way for us as educators to gain some new ideas and gather lots of new innovative maths lessons. 

 This project has helped us as staff in the nursery and Foundation Stage classes to realise how to ensure that maths is integrated into all aspects of learning and not just seen as a stand alone subject - this is more of an issue for colleagues in the primary when curriculum subjects are very clearly divided up. In nursery and preschool, in general, we tend to teach subjects across the board all day long and realise that maths is everywhere and not just something to be taught for an hour a day.

In Finland we got to take part in some outdoor games with a small group of children and share some maths activities indoors with them too. We also spent time in the forest watching the children take part in maths/ICT games, this was followed by having lunch around the fire.

As I watched some of my partners in the forest it made me realise how far we as a nursery have come on our outdoor journey and how we as a staff have developed our outdoor curriculum over the past 10 years. When I visited Norway in 2008 and took part in a job shadow in an outdoor preschool, I spent a lot of time asking 'Can they do that, should they be up there, are they allowed to do that?' as is was so different from our playground and outdoor play. This time I was very comfortable in the forest and almost blasé about the adventurous, risky play that we saw but I could see some of my other partners were amazed by it and it made us realise that we have benefitted so much from being involved in European projects since 2004.

Sometimes you enter a project with one aim but end up with a completely different one or you get something out of a partnership that you never expected and of course life long friendships are made. 

Our next meeting is in Croatia and then we have 3 more left before the project comes to an end. The children and staff in Windmill can only but benefit from all the shared learning going on from across Europe. 
of course the idea that we are now being dragged out of the EU and that the possibilities of the amazing Erasmus opportunities may be lost for out students and staff makes me so angry but in the meantime I will continue to take part in projects and learn from my colleagues. 

To end on a more positive note, our school was recently awarded the International School Award by the British Council.

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