Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Starting anew… (summer is almost over…)

The summer break here in Sweden is coming to an end… and the educational year will soon be starting again.

My daughters will leave "foundation school" which is from the age of 7 in year 1 until the leave at the end of year nine. They will be now going onto their next school (non-compulsary) for further studies. One of them will be moving across the country to a small sea town to do a "spetsutbildning" which google translates as top education in marine biology.. there are only two schools in Sweden that offer this kind of education, and the one that suited her best was not the one here in Stockholm, but the one 7 hours away.
So my 15 year old will be leaving home.
I was not quite ready for that… and while I am immensely proud of the fact that she will be studying in the place she really wants to, it feels so strange to admit to myself that she no longer needs me in the same way as she did when she was small.
Lucky for me that her twin sister is staying here in Stockholm… and attending a school not that far away from where we live.
My son still has 4 more years of compulsory school. AND I am so hoping that this is the year when we turn things around… and at the same time I am getting myself prepared to move him if it doesn't work. Sometimes when you have a history at a place then it can be good to free yourself from that history to start anew…

Starting anew is something we can do at the preschool too… at the moment there are only two children needing care… and although most of the staff are off enjoying their summer… there are a few at work… fixing and arranging and preparing for the term to come.

This coming year we will be have a special focus on the pedagogical environment as well as creating a preschool that is inclusive for all… i.e. exploring our norms and values.

A few of the staff came over to my place to watch the film "The Beginning of Life" and one of the points that was lifted was the fact that children should be given more time and space for their OWN imagination.
So in the next few days we will be taking away all the toys/materials from the shelves and leaving out only books, paper and pens (and the art studio… but this will also be thinned down) as well as some blocks, sticks and stones and cardboard boxes and pieces of material.

What will the children make of it?
Next week there will be 12 children at the preschool… they will be the first (of the 40 we usually have once the term gets in full swing) to get a taste of the preschool with space for imagination.

Later this month I will be taking the whole team to Ekudden Preschool in Uppsala to check out their pedagogical environment… to ask questions, to get them thinking about when we start adding things, what will we add and why.

Last year we started the school year with the hope to develop the environment… and while we have looked at it… we did not get far… and this is the first time I will be working as director of Filosofiska from the start of the year… and not taking over mid term… so hopefully there will be a different dynamic… my colleagues become more inspired which adds fuel to how we develop the environment together… this year we will be really giving it a challenge.

(Developing the Third Teacher - the post I wrote last year as we were about to embark a new school year).

So on Friday I will post images of our new empty preschool… and I have full intentions to write a weekly report here on its development… the good, the bad, the ugly, the frustrating and the celebrations of the Third Teacher developing with us and the children!!

one of the things I have noticed about children's play outside that when we have cited spaces that appear "empty" the children have filled it with their play. The play has always then been very socially rich. So I am looking forward to seeing if this is the case when we use this principle indoors

inspiration from Ekudden… where we will visit in a few weeks. I am curious to see what inspiration the teachers will take from the visit.

Boulder Journey School. It was alike a place of illusion. It gave the impression of having space… and yet it was filled with inspiration - the walls, floors and ceilings

this is our art studio a few years ago… there have been a few changes here over the last 24 months…

my visit to Iceland gave me a whole load of food for thought about having VERY few things out for the children… 

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Why I will be marching in the Pride Parade this year

I appreciate that not everyone will share my views… that there will be those who do not approve of the lifestyles of others… my request is that you read this with the understanding it is about equality for all… for all humans to be equally valued… that being different is not bad… it is simply not the same as you… that we have more similarities with each other than differences in the end…




Next Saturday, July 30th, I will be taking part in the Pride Parade here in Stockholm.
I will be taking part as a mother, a teacher, a fellow human being.

I have always been a person who has felt strongly about valuing others… those who think like me, but also those who are very different from myself. And this has covered race, religion, culture, gender, sexuality… you name it, I try to be as open to the idea as possible… open to the idea of understanding, of wanting to listen… and most importantly having respect.

This is something that I felt was important for my own three children to have… and so there has always been an openness at hoe to talk about all kinds of people as the norm… not as if they were different, but just everyday people.

My daughters (twins) are now 15, my son is now 12. I find it fascinating talking with them and learning about their experiences… and how I have impacted on their lives… the good and the bad…

One of the things they conveyed recently was that one of the biggest shocks they got in their lives was when they were watching a film about gay rights in school and so many of their friends reacted shocked or disgusted… for my daughters being gay was normal, just as not being gay is normal… so they found it odd that so many found it not normal…

Of course if most of society thinks that something is not normal… then it is going to be quite hard to react normally with people different from themselves… whether it be gay or something else.

As a child I can remember all the times that I felt different and the sense of not belonging… I am 1.78m (just over 5'10¨) so I am tall (not excessively tall)… in fact I am 3 inches/7.5cm taller than the average male (in UK)… I was taller than all my male teachers in school… there were no teachers taller than me… although my German teacher was the same height…
Its not a big outsider thing, on the great scale of things… but it did make finding clothes that fitted hard… if you are short you can take them up… not quite as easy to add on…
It meant I bought a lot of men's clothes so that I could get the length.

I have also moved to Sweden… I have felt what it feels like to be an outsider… not to understand a language (although I do now!!) to be continuously judged as an English person… and that happened too when I lived for half a year in Sweden… when people in Adelaide discovered I was from the UK I was so surprised at just how many people accused me of brining over the sparrows and rats and other animals damaging Australia's beautiful indigenous wildlife… I know for a fact that it was NOT me that brought them over… more likely the ancestors of these people accusing me! But you kind of apologised and scuttled away.

Oh yeah, people are taller here in Sweden, so I don't feel quite as different… but I do work in a branch with lots of little people… means I get lots of bruises on my knees trying to manage tucking my legs under the child sized tables! hehe

Anyway - so at some point/s in our lives we have all felt different. The question is how do we use that feeling to ensure we do not allow for others to be made to feel different, not to be included…

During this last week I have been working on a plan for equality in our preschool setting, and also working on a handbook to help us question the way we look at things, the way we work, how we observe the children and how we can improve the preschool to be a place of equal opportunities.

The equal opportunity plan discusses children's rights, talks about what is discrimination, harassment bullying etc… how we work actively against it, what happens if it does occur… how it should be reported, documented etc and how the preschool's vision works for an inclusive environment…
it also explains various areas where people are discriminated etc

The handbook thing is more a reflective tool, to get the pedagogues critically thinking about their own prejudices and stereotypes… also to start dialogues about who this applies to, how our language, spoken and unspoken affect the children, how the environment affects the children… and how we can be more norm-aware… what are the majority groups what are the minority groups and how can we make the minority groups more part of the norm, everyday part of our lives to enable the children to be respectful and open to differences… not just to see the differences but enabled to see the similarities…
There is also a need to explore the multiple.identities of children… they are just not one identity - e.g. preschool child, but also sex, gender, religion, cultural group, their family etc etc etc… they are an individual and a member of the preschool group… but also their family… and we need to look at the complexity of each individual and give them value…
also exploring how we can actively support the children, by dealing with our own feeling s first… so a kind of philosophical approach… its not quite finished yet…

and of course its all in Swedish… and connected to Swedish school laws, Children's Rights, the Swedish preschool curriculum etc…


So back to the Pride Parade
I am marching for equal opportunities … for awareness that all children, alls families alls people have the right to be equally valued, and that they are included… to help us see the similarities and not just the differences… and at the same time celebrate diversity…


its complex

But basically I am a person that wants peace… and peace can only come through acceptance, through listening and understanding…



Sunday, 17 July 2016

Indoor v outdoor - play v learning

Yesterday I shared the following post on my FB page
Preschoolers need more outdoor time at child care centers


The phrase

"Only 3 in 10 children had at least 60 minutes of a full child-care day outdoors for recess, as is recommended by guidelines. "
concerns me not only because so many children are playing so little outside... BUT mostly because outdoor play is seen as recess...
For me outdoor and indoor play AND learning have equal value... one is not better than the other... both are equally vital as part of a balanced diet of play and learning... some days more out than in... some days more in than out... but everyday more than an hour, regardless of the weather...

I feel it is a little troubling that there is STILL this distinction between learning and play... that there is STILL this distinction between learning happening indoors and play happening outdoors...

There are so many aticles about the importance of outdoor play... but sometimes I feel it is becoming like a little seperate movement of its own... rather than being properly integrated into the play and learning that happens in a young child's life.

I remember the many dialogues about how to improve outdoor spaces at previous preschools I have worked at... and how we should value the outdoor space as a learning environment in the same way as the indoor space...

and from my Swedish perspective learning and play are woven together... indoors learning was not a sit down thing, learning was a hands on through play kind of thing... so please don't misintrepret my learning indoors and outdoors as taking sit down learning outside!!


I agree that children need outdoor play... they need to learn through play.
I also know that we as adults should not be hijacking their play either... we should not be controlling... but have guiding hands... we should not have a hidden agenda... but stimulating their natural curiosity...


So if we are providing stimulating environments where the children can play... they will also learn. I am also aware that my role as an educator of young children is also to inspire and to challenge them... so part of the day is activity based... one activity every day to build on their play, to build on the knowledge... either to solidify it, or to expand, or to challneg it completely...

this last year the activities provided have been

Mondays... dance and movement... the children's play and development needs always being the basis of the games they played here, and the group activities we tested out... often the children took ideas from this 1-2 hour session into their own play... (sessions always lasted as long as there is interest)

Tuesdays... philosophical dialogue... we talk about what is interesting and relevant to the project... to deepen our understanding, to allow me to know how the children comprehend the project, and how I can continue to challenge and provoke their thinking... this lasts anything from 10 minutes to 60 minutes depending on the children.

Wednesdays... in the atelier... creative axplorations... using art materials, technology etc etc... often a time to explore ideas with our hands...

Thursdays... excursion... we travel further afield to explore the city we live in, to find parks, forests, musems etc that are connected with the project and children's play... we are then outside for a full three hours.

Fridays... song meeting with the whole preschool together for 30 minutes, then outdoor play in a playspace/environment of teacher choosing... Monday to Wednesday the children choose where we go out to play... we play 1-2 hours each morning outside. The reason why we as teachers choose Thursday and Friday is to continually provide the children with inspiration of places we can go and explore.

The afternoons are dedicated free play... indoors and outdoors... where we as educators need to think about how the environment can enable to deepen their play... as we KNOW that learning happens within play... but if we are not aware of the play then we can not challenge it, provoke it, enrich it... however you like to phrase it. The children are not sorted by age in the afternoons, but are free to explore play across the ages... the WHOLE preschool is available to them

HAVING an outdoor space of your own is not essential...although "having" an outdoor space might have its perks...  something I have learned in the last 3.5years due to working at a setting that does not have its own outdoor space ( the problem of a city, taking over an old post-office to create a preschool)...

 we ARE outside everyday... we are a part of the community instead... we are in local parks, the local square, the forest, we take public transport... the city belongs to us...

So its not so much about what you HAVE... but what you do with the resources at your disposal... and sometimes those are resources the city has, the local area has rather than what your actual setting has.
Over the many years I have worked most have said it is impossible to take 1-2 yr olds out on excursions... and yet that is what we do every day... sometimes the "excursion" is just a few meters until the children reach a puddle and their full focus is there... sometimes the destination is not important, but the getting there... the process. It means we are listening to the children's play. We have put aside our agenda, we see the learning in what the children do... and we make that visible... to the children when they need to see it/hear it... and to our colleagues so we can improve the activities/facilities to further enable the children's play... and of course to the parents.

We do not view the outdoor play as a recess from the learning... neither do we see the indoor learning as a recess from play... they are all woven together... they are of equal importance... free play inside, free play outside, creative play in and out, child lead play, teacher lead play, role-play, games etc etc... all forms of play and learning occurring in both the indoor and outdoor environments...

 

It is not outdoors is better than indoors... it is not play OR learning... they are all essential components of a child's healthy development. 

 

I understand the need to talk about outdoor play... especially in countries that are not valuing it, not rpoviding enough outdoor experience... and are obviously not making the connection of play and learning... but still seeing them as seperate entities.

We need to bring it together, we need to value play AS learning... but not with an adult agenda, we need to value the outdoors as a space for play and learning of equal value as the indoor space... that play and learning happens in BOTH... not one more than the other... not one being more important that the other... but as essential ingredients in a child's learning/play diet.

Below are images of play and learning... indoors and outdoors...

 
risky play can happen indoors too... sawing to create robots... or cutting vegetables to make lunch... or jumping of stepp ladders with pillows piled high under... risky play is NOT just an outdoor thing


exploring weather is defenintely much easier outside than inside... and needs to be played in


water play... indoors and outdoors... and always so much learning going on with the play... from science, to weight and volume, to social learning of collaboration and problem solving...

learning about plants and nature is easier outside... especially how big nature can be


discovering wildlife... both inside and outside
seasons can be explored easily outside... but nature can also be taken indoors to explore and play with... I have experienced a wonderful thwoing leaves around the room session with two year olds indoors...


sensory play indoors and outdoors...
contruction, science, testing outdoors trhough play

art experience indoors... as winter is long and cold in Sweden we cannot always do full body painting outside... but it has happened
but art does not have to be full body all the time... we take the atelier outside as often as we can... windy days can be a bit more of a challenge...
clean up can be fun too... learning happens in play... and sometimes cleaning up is playful too!
and the great thing about taking art outside is that the children explore in new ways... and this is the local square... we took a table and the art things out... this also shows that if you really want to play and learn outside you can, even if you have no own outdoor space of your own... you just have to make it happen.

some activities are best indoors... as we just need the electricity to make the glue guns work... but I guess with a little determination, even this could be done outside!!!


this was an indoor experiment... letting go of a balloon to see where it would land... the children predicted all the balloons would land in the same place... we replicated the experiment outside... and there the balloon moved differently... because of the wind.

outdoor playoffers great opportunities for gross motor skill collaboration... but the outdoors is not the only space for collaboration

playing with the dark... of course this is something we could do outside as well... but living in the city means there are so many street lights that reall dark dark is hard to find... despite there being little daylight hours during the winter!


nature can be taken inside to play with in new ways... and plenty of problem solving, maths, collaboration, creativity etc going on too!

salt on a mirror offers a chance to be creative and also a sensory experience... hard to do outside... but outdoors it can be done in sand, snow, gravel etc...

there is more space outside for big play and big movement... but we also think this is important indoors too... and have a room specially for big movement play
contruction can happen outdoors too... not just inside in the construction area...


by adding new materials to the construction area... new designs, new ideas... lights were added!




learning through play... learning about the warmth of summer, about sun, water and rainbows... about plants needing water to grow... etc


learning about appropriate clothing... water is not always warm, or pleasnat to cool you down... soemtimes it makes you really cold...


exploring things outdoors... and then taking that experience indoors (see photo below)



newspapers and water... just warmer




the overhead allows children to play... but also learn about the world around them... size, math etc

play sometimes is just play... and the learning is not always obvious... its an experience... play can allow children to be filled with wonder, with joy, with security... and is valuable JUST for that... for without joy, wonder and security there can be no learning










 

 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Junk art...

There is an area close to the preschool that is actually not a playspace, but just a public space between building... the children have nicknamed it "hide and seek park" - as it has proved to be a great spot for just that game...

It also seems to be a place for dumping junk... and over the years we have found all sorts of things that have inspired the children's play.

Several times I have attempted to get them interested in creating art with the junk, but collecting and creating something myself... the children, or some of them, have joined in for a short while... but the interest has not really enticed them to incorporate it in their play... until last week...

The group played in two smaller groups... after their usual tag game together that has started every outdoor play session in tha last 3 years... (this game has evolved in sophistication, has been role-play and is now just tag again).

Three of them were deep in their play... that does not look like play but simply three children chatting with each other and moving sporadically around the area... but if you listen and observe closely it is an elaborate role-play where their imaginations are deeply interacting with each other.

The other five children disappeared into the bushes and there were giggles and chatting and then after a long time we were called over to look closely (I like to keep a distance during outdoor play... to give the children the feeling of free play, without adult intervention, at the same time as keeping them safe).

The children had created a robot family with the junk they had found...


I loved the creativity and totally marvelled at the amount of junk they had been able to find... this was a little more than usual, tubes, deflated basket ball, metal plates, pieces of wooden flooring etc

The children talked about their creations and invented a background story for them... the largest robot was the mummy robot, with a deflated basketball head, wooden mouth, with "sharp teeth" placed on them.

it interests me to see how children can be inspired by what we do with them, but wait for the moment that is right for them to incorporate it in their play. It is a year ago when I first tried to get them to create art with junk in this playspace... and they marvelled but spent a few minutes interacting with that art... the next time, last autumn, about ten minutes they created their own art... this time they spent 45 minutes collaborating with each other to create a family of robots... the time was evidently right...
interestingly it was robots... I know that we have covered a lot of robot stuff during our Leonardo Da Vinci project, but also the first two times i did junk art, outside with them like this, I created robots... as the junk had been computer parts and game parts then and lent itself to robots...
So I wonder where their inspiration came from... the parts, the project or their previous experience with junk art? Or maybe the combination of all these things lead them to this very play?

Loose parts don't have to be glamourous, they certainly do not have to be expensive... they do not have to be found in nature either... they can be scraps... but the children can find beauty in what others dump as rubbish... and this is a perspective that can be good to have... to see potential in stuff that others have given up on!




Sunday, 5 June 2016

På svenska... länkar och info för att stödja besöket till Ekudden

This is not my usual sort of post... as it will be in Swedish... the first time writng in Swedish here..

Förhoppningsvis blir den här en komplettering till den presentation som jag gjorde vid Ekudden häromveckan...

med några bilder med texter, samt med länkar kring det vi pratade om...

Först bilderna...




citat:
"Det är viktigt att förstå lyssnandet som en process som inte är begränsad till den talade ordet.  Frasen "voice of the child(barnets röst)" kan föreslå överföring av idéer bara genom ord, men att lyssna på små barn, inklusive pre-verbala barn, behöver vara en process som är öppen för de många kreativa sätt småbarn använda för att uttrycka sina åsikter och erfarenheter"

Alison Clark and Peter Moss,
The Mosaic Approach





och nu för länkar...

The importance of the spoken word - jag pratade en hel del om en norm-medvetenhet, om värdegrund samt hur vi kan bemöta barns olika sätt att lyssna samt att uttrycka sina idéer.

Jackson Pollock målningen för att utforska känslor och om det är möjligt att uttrycka dom genom konst... kan någon annan uppleva samma känsla som den som måla vill uttrycka, eller får vi en annan känsla.

Att leka meta-samtal - här är en post som reflektera kring hur vi "lekte" vår meta-samtal istället för en dialog om dialogen... självklart blev det mycket dialog för att hitta ett sätt att leka våra idéer som vi hade pratat om dagen innan. Hela tiden vi leta efter olika sätt att reflektera och tänka TILLSAMMANS.

Julens färg...  jag har ställt samma fråga varje år vid vissa tidpunkter... för att kunna se hur barnen utveckla i sina tankar... samtidigt har jag kunnat dela med den kunskap med barnen och ge barnen möjlighet att se sin egen utveckling... språkmässigt, och idémässigt. Det är också ett sätt att ta reda på vad barnen kan och göra julpyssel (eller vilken tradition som helst) utifrån barnens tänkandet och inte bara berätta "så här fira vi". Vi ta reda på alla barns olika kultur hemifrån..

Fotografi för att utforska idéer - den här post är mina reflektioner kring en projekt där barnen tog bilder som en verktyg för delad tänkande.

Ted Talks - om ni ha tid och lust att lyssna på andra om lyssnandet... så finns det 7 TedTalk länkar här... mycket intressanta.

the best position for listening - det blir inte alltid enkelt... ibland behöver barnen återvända till förfilosofiska övningar... lärandet är en spiral. Detta var en mycket rolig förfilosofisk övning med barnen.

Filosofi med förskolebarn - i den här post finns det många länkar till mina funderingar kring filosofi med förskolebarn.

Lyssna dans - här är en av gruppen lyssna övningar... samt linje-dans

bubbel-lek - och jag avsluta med bubbel-leken. en lyssnandet övning

Jag pratade en hel del om att vi har gjort lyssnande övningar både inne och ute, med hela kroppen och alla sinnen... utifrån idén att om vi ha hundra språk då finns det hundra olika sätt att lyssna... Att vi pedagoger måste vara öppet för att lyssna... till barnen och varandra, för att utforska idéer utan agenda.... inte alltid så lätt när man ha en pedagogisk tanke/mål... ibland man måst följa barnen och låta dom utforska deras idéer för att kunna lära oss mer om barnen och hur vi kan bättre stödja deras utveckling som en kreativ och kritisk-tänkande människa.

Jag håller med er att man måste öva själv på filosofiska samtal för att bli bekväm... men man måste våga...

Här är länkar till andra som jobba med filosofi med barn...

Sara Stanley (P4C)

Böcker med frågor...Tom Wartenberg   här kan man hitta en bok som ni vill läsa (vissa finns på svenska) sedan finns det förslag om frågor och aktiviteter för att få barnen att tänka kring dom... det är en rätt så bra ställe att få inspiration och man behöver inte följa allting precis... anpassa efter era egna barns behov.

Jag antar det här räcker för nu...  finns det frågor och funderingar... lämna en kommentar...



Sunday, 8 May 2016

Learning about the world...

 A few weeks back my group and I visted a park on the South Island... where we always have great fun... It just so happened that on this occasion another educator (another preschool, that incidently prides itself on having a RE approach) told one of "my" children to "STOP, not ride there" in a commanding voice... I was there and could see the whole thing... so I asked "why should she stop"
"Because she might fall"

The whole situation irritated me a little on several levels... firstly the educator shouted out stop as the child went by, without seeing how the child had been managing previously, the teacher obviously didn't either take the time to risk assess... the child was at the most balancing on the scooter on a quite narrow raised pathway, which was at most30 cm above the ground... grass on one side and protective soft surface on the other... there was little risk of a real injury, and mostly because the child was expected to stop without any reason been given... just an order... how are children expected to learn if adults are simply telling them what to do without letting them know...
sure if it's a real emergency shouting out an instruction can be important.. but afterwards a follow up as to why is equally essential so that the child gains the chance to understand why the situation was dangerous.

It got me thinking about how often adults expect children just to follow instructions... for their own good (or quite often for the good/ease of the adult) rather than trusting the children...


Of course this can be because, as John Holt wrote, because we were never trusted ourselves... BUT that does not mean it is impossible, it just means as an adult we have to think about it all the time... be conscious of what we are saying and how we are saying it... so that the children can learn about the world and understand how the world works and not just follow instructions... following instructions means you are forever dependant on someone giving instructions.
For me, the aim is to allow the children to be capabe, to be empowered and to understand the world... this means allowing them to make their own mistakes to learn from... but it also requires I keep them safe while they are doing this...

There is a local playspace that has a small house that the children like to climb up onto the roof... last year only three of my group could get onto the roof... all three of those are now in school... so there was great joy this year as they managed to get onto the roof for the first time... the joy was THEIRS as I had refused to help them up...
The children are also informed of the risk of going up, that they need to be aware of others around them... especially those coming in and out of the door...

This year some of the children dared to jump off the roof... again they had to make their own decision... if it was too scary then climbing down was a better option... and of course that is one of the things they need to think of before climbing up... "do you have a plan for getting down?". I also showed them how to land with bending their knees to avoid hurting their legs and backs... to be aware of jumping far enough out to clear the wooden patio/step... things that can be forgotten in the middle of an exciting moment... the things I feel I need to point out to keep them safe...

Jumping off the house was not the first of this season's big jumps though... they have been gradually daring to get higher and higher all year... so allowing them to jump off the house was not just a "go for it" encouragement from me, but an informed decision based on knowing and understanding the children I work with and knowing they are fully capable of this next level jump!

Just as this hanging upside down doing acrobatics on the "friend swing" has come from three years of me watching them explore this swing in many different ways... that this risk was well within their capabilities...

and this carousel swing with chairs and button seats allowed the children to explore risk in another way... this was the first time visiting this park... but I know and trust the children to take care of each other... and to take risks within their own limits...
It was interesting watching the teachers and school children who were there at the same time who had less control over their own risk assessing, as the teachers was keeping tabs on how long each turn was, how they pushed, how close they got etc etc... I felt a little concerned what those educators might think of me - but the children learned themselves that the carousel was lower at one side than the other and therefore easier to get on then (the school teachers told their children that)... that my preschoolers took turns with each other... knowing that if one child had a long turn then they too would get a long turn and that they could have fun in between pushing and haging onto the seats . They also learned that if they were not fast enough they got bumped by a swing and that falling flat to the ground was a good idea and crawling out... (the school children were not allowed to push... the teachers did that). My preschoolers have yellow vests on them!!!

In winter the children slide down hills with their bodies... they even used each other as sleds... of course I can let this happen as we have learned together over the years that if someone says stop, get off, you do that straight away... they listen to each other... I do not have to step in as a teacher to make them listen... they understand the importance of what their peers are saying... This is why I work so much with listening, and getting the children to help each other... it means that they are capable of solving their own problems because they listen to each other... if adults are always giving instructions then there is less chance children will listen to their peers, as they have never understood why they had to stop doing something before...

testing the capablities of your own body is important... understanding the risks is equally important... not only for the child testing, but also those around... the other children need to wait, trying to get to the other side in the middle of this experiment might mean a loss of concentration and a fall... it might mean they get knocked...
of course as the child gets more practiced and the other children are more aware, it can become a game of a human bridge to go under... but ALL the children need to be aware that this is the game they are playing... They need to listen to each other.

Using knives is an important way to learn about the world... learning about where fingers should be, to hold the knife on the handle not the blade (you would be surprised to read that 3 children I need to remind to keep their hand on the handle, as their hands slipped onto the blade in the hope of having more force ). The children surrounding the carrot cutting child also need to have an awareness and a respect so that no fingers get cut.


I will also lend my camera to the children to take photographs... teaching them how to hold it... letting them feel it first while it is still around my neck, so that they are prepared... informing them why it is around their neck (and my neck too) - and getting the chance to take photographs with a viewfinder... not just with a moble phone where you see the whole image easily on the screen.


So how are you helping children learn about the world?
How much time and space do you give the children to explore and make their own mistakes?
How often do your children get to make their own risk assessments?
And do you explain everytime your decisions... so that the children have the opportunity to learn?