Over the years I have engaged many times in dialogues about the fact the word "fun" being used as a key word in the preschool/kindergarten/early years context... that school/preschool should be fun. The thought being should this really be a key word? School and preschool (ages 0-6) is about learning (preschool is learning through play and exploration rather than the formal learning of school) not about having fun. The educators are not trained in how to entertain the children
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
(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
(på svenska efter alla bilder) In October 2018 I visited two "I Ur och Skur" preschools on Lidingö, just outside Stockholm City.
I Ur och Skur means directly in hour and shower (UR is an old word for clock, or a word outside, or original as urskog means virgin forest (original untouched forest) - it can also be translated as the saying Rain or Shine - as in "come rain or shine" = no matter what. And that is the ethos of this approach... that the play and learning can be outs
Another post sharing inspiration and reflections from AnjiPlay in China... this time with a focus on Sand and water play to find out more about the construction materials why not check out Construction Play or just click onto the tag or category AnjiPlay to find all the other posts I have written so far... What I noticed was that these were not small sandboxes. The schools had made the considered decision to create sand areas that are both expansive AND deep so that the child
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
To find out more about International Fairy Tea Party... there are posts here Hej för alla som undrade här finns en dokument ni får tillgång till kring hur älvkalaset kopplas till den nya läroplan
Detta är en levande dokument, så det kommer att ändras under tiden - med mer information, och så småningom mer kring lek och andra delar av värdegrunden (även om allt detta nu finns i jag vill vara ännu mer tydlig i framtiden. Det kommer att ske dock efter 2018 älvkalas - men innan
This is another post inspired by my time in China and my visits to the AnjiPlay settings. This post will focus on the construction materials... and really part of me has kind of been putting this post off because there is JUST SO MUCH to write and share about this... So I know that this post is not going to really be able to do justice to the materials and how they are presented and used... I think the first thing that really hits you is the sheer amount of materials that are
While I was in Anji, China it was very obvious that the ladder was a symbol of play and freedom... a bamboo ladder is also the actual logo for AnjiPlay... When you see them in action you can also see why this is the case. The children are free to use and play with them in a myriad of ways. The fact that there are different lengths of ladders and were offered in different materials (pine or bamboo) is also testament to this... Ms Cheng (who is the founder of AnjiPlay) wanted n
Online you can find lots and lots of posts and short videos on how to make slime with chia seeds and cornflour...
I thought I would have a go, mostly because the idea of a homemade natural slime that is not messy on the hands appeals to me and my understanding of children who do not like to get messy during sensory play.
I saw the recipes with just chia seeds, water and cornflour... but further research into the realm of slime shows that there are those that use liquid glu
STEM-education has been around for some time now... a focus on Science Technology Engineering and Maths in education - not long after came STEAM-education, introducing the Arts into the focus... As I have been talking with my co-collaborators for the Maker Square at Förskola21 on the 7th of October 2019 we felt there was an essential missing ingredient... Relationships - so we decided to add that extra R and create STREAM. STREAM does exist already in the sense that there are
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
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
I think what really fascinated me about AnjiPlay was that in social media there is a large focus on the risky play element of the approach... which means that from the outside the full spectrum of the play and the approach cannot be fully seen or appreciated... and this is why I have chosen to focus on writing about these other elements first... I believe that if these posts spike an interest you will easily look up AnjiPlay and discover more about it yourself, I hope that yo
During my visit to Anji County in China and the nine preschools one of the (many) ting that stuck out was the use of clay, and the scale it was being used. The children had access to huge amounts of clay... from beautiful, large, lidded pots to huge pits of clay that the children could climb into in order to collect clay... Each day in the AnjiPlay preschools the children had access to one hour of "True Play" - where the teachers backed off with their "eyes open, ears open, h
It was a few years ago when I was first drawn to AnjiPlay, I don't remember exactly how many, but I do remember feeling a connection to the approach, just in the same way that I had felt a connection with the Reggio Emilia Approach... not so much a wow, this is amazing, but more, this feels like home. I think we are all going to have different responses to revolutionary educational practice. For some it might seem too much and the mere idea of the approach is scary... for oth
As I look back and reflect on my experience in Anji County, China and visiting the AnjiPlay kindergartens/preschools I wonder about my own approach to something new and i realise that it ties in with my observations of preschoolers at new locations... When I take a group of preschoolers to a new space (whether it be a play-space, forest, museum etc) what I see is that the children have a desire to look around, the do not settle into deep play as they usually do in a space fam
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
This post was first written on the 17th January 2014.. I am now sharing it here on my new website, as I think it is still relevant, and it includes some new reflections and updates... Marc Armitage linked the story of a three year old child that had died at her preschool entangled in a rope on the slide...here is the link and the comments from others about that link...
Here is a link to the story in The Guardian that Marc had linked and the same story as it continues in the
As the warmer weather approaches it gives you the opportunity to take paints outside and go crazy... This session was during the summer when there are often very few children attending preschool... just two this day... so I really took advantage of that...
I filled two big plastic boxes with warm soapy water so the children could use them to rinse themselves off at any time - these became very popular to climb in and out of and add an extra layer of wetness to the whole art