Just over three years ago I was invited to Toronto, Canada to participate in the Rhythm of Learning "The Rhythm of Learning in Nature is an opportunity offered by the York Region Nature Collaborative for like-minded educators to come together in place to experience nature, outdoor play, Reggio-inspiration and forest school practices. The week follows an emergent curriculum framework, as we will invite both facilitators and participants to decide the direction of the work and
One of the things I have noticed on my visit to Greece is my inability to read Greek... its a completely different alphabet... while I was in Istanbul many of the letters (not all) were similar to the ones I know (English and Swedish) - so I was able to make out the words... Here in Athens that has been harder...
What I have also noticed is that names are an amazing way to learn to read. The children at Dorothy Snot school have a drawer with their name on it in the rooms...
I am a huge believer in the power of play.
I think it is one of the strongest languages children have to communicate with and make sense of the world around them... it is of course not the only language available to them to explore and interact with the world. Being inspired by Malaguzzi brings with it the reflections of a hundred languages... the many ways to learn, play, listen, interact and engage...
For me play-based learning is not a hands-off approach. It is hands on
In the course of the last two months I have found myself participating in deep and interesting dialogues about the phenomenon - "provocations"
it is a word often used in a Reggio Emilia context... and yet there seems to be a lot of uncertainty about where the idea of provocation really comes from, is it even something used in the Reggio Emilia Approach, and how is it being interpreted...? (see the link below for more discussion about that) And, in a way, this dialogue has g
(på svenska efter bilderna) In the last few years I have been shaping and refining my idea of Original Learning... It is my reaction to this constant separation of play and learning... which comes with an ever increasing need to define precisely what play is and what learning is... especially the learning of the academic kind that happens in schools. For me this relations of play and learning is much more complicated and much less binary than is being constantly discussed in
Since my visit to Anji, China in May I have been sharing posts containing images of the settings for 3-6 year old children. These posts have been met with excitement and also apprehension... this idea that it feels impossible... that level of risk, that kind of play would never work here, people are too afraid.
I want to point out that this is very much the case in China too. The kindergartens in Anji that are using the AnjiPlay pedagogy are very divergent from the norm of
I love the fact that the Swedish preschool curriculum does not have goals for the children... but goals for the teachers and the education/service they provide. When I look at curriculums from many other parts of the world the focus is always on the goals the children need to reach, and that the rule is the teacher is to get the children there... if the goal focus is, instead, on the teacher and the setting then the rules are very different. They are no longer about getting t
I have been spending the afternoon thinking about play and about childhood... and thinking about myself as a child. When it struck me, that I have never thought of myself as a child when I was a child... I have always just been me... a person. In a way I feel pretty much the same as I did, as I always have... although I am aware of how I have evolved as a person, what I have learned - but the essence of me still feels the same.
I still have a very clear memory of my grandmo
Over the years I keep coming back to light as a tool for play, a tool for learning, a tool to explore and experiment... In a way light, for me, has become a symbol for learning... we become enlightened.. We can also use the word illuminate and elucidate in similar ways... As educators we strive to shed light on new things... experiences, knowledge, perspectives... This is part of my love for playing with light... it is much deeper than just the play and exploration, the scien
To help or not to help. This is a post I first wrote in 2013, but I still find it is relevant to share again...
We strive to support the children to be competent, to be confident in their abilities and to be problem solvers. So every now and again I feel quite frustrated (and do my utmost to hide that frustration) when children say "I can't..." without even attempting.
On Mondays we have "children's choice" - the children get to choose whether they are inside or outside d
Over the years I found that swing from having great faith in educators to suddenly feeling overwhelmed and that we are never going to achieve true democratic classrooms/learning where there is participation and respect and real learning for all. And in this I mean not just in early education but throughout school. Really its not the educators I have issue with... I think 98% strive to be the best they can for the students/children they work with - there are that 2% (maybe mor
Sometimes something catches your eye and you just have to read it... my two 14 year old daughters love Sherlock Holmes, so when I saw the post by Brain Pickings on Konnikova: Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes, I just had to give it a read. ... and I am glad I did... as I started seeing parallels to my work as a preschool teacher... in that observations and how we observe and analyse what we have seen can allow us to deduce what is the best continued path for the c
This is the first in a series about my visit to China to learn about AnjiPlay...
This and coming posts will be my process of sorting my thoughts and reflections of my experience and my interpretation os what i heard and saw. To learn more about AnjiPlay I recommend that you go direct to the source and learn from those in Anji actively engaged in this play focussed pedagogy. True Play is not about children's free play... free play is outside an educational institution. This i
being visibly invisible
This is something I strive to be...
The idea is that I want to be visible in the sense that the children know I am always there for them, that they can rely on me, that they feel safe to go off and explore, that we have mutual trust and respect and that I am a part of the democratic community of learning...
but I want to be invisible too... that I do not interfere with the children's learning, that they have the power to solve their own problems a
This is one of those posts that actually I was kind of saving for my book, but due to the response I have received after my keynote in Athens where I briefly mentioned how I see time connected to play and as a part of Original Learning, I feel there is reason to share my thinking earlier... Four or five years ago I was chatting with my children and up popped that phrase that we adults like to use... "you need to think outside of the box" - my daughter replied by saying that h
At the end of April in Sweden there is the Valborg celebration - where bonfires are lit around the country to give the sun strength and to sing and welcome spring. This year, like last year, spring has started unusually early here in Stockholm, but all the same there will be bonfires lit, sausages eaten and songs sung... Young children might not fully understand the whole process of the bonfire... if they are up late enough to see there fires... its a mix... I have seen plent
I have now been in Athens for a week. And in this time I have held two evening sessions - one on democratic learning and how I have used philosophy with preschoolers to enable this democratic process, and one called The first Three Years, play, learn, sleep, repeat, looking at the importance of the first three years and the impact we have on young children as adults, and the importance of play and sleep on learning. The third session was a Saturday morning hands on workshop f
Often I feel that there is status in happiness. That success is measured in happiness - and that as parents and educators we should be striving towards making happy children... I have shifted from the word happy somewhat... mostly because how do you REALLY know if a child is happy... and that many children learn to fake to be happy for the sake of the adult... so I am not looking for happy children as a sign that my classroom/setting is of high quality
instead -what I look f
What looks like chaos to you might be a source of creativity to young learners, so don't be so quick to clear things away... Most often when people think of a Reggio Emilia Approach classroom or early years setting they think of a beautiful room, natural materials and an orderly aesthetic. And yes, there is an element of truth to this, but it is not the whole story. Learning is not orderly or aesthetic, it is organic and that means it can get messy, it can get chaotic, and th
The #FridaysForFuture movement is very much a part of my home-life now. Both my daughters are engaged in their different ways, one here on the east coast of Sweden in Stockholm, and the other on the west coast of Sweden in Lysekil. As a parent here in Sweden it is my job to make sure they go to school, it is the law that all children attend school (not get an education, but attend school - I guess the attendance means they get an education!!). As many of you who have followed