My first day was all about travelling… getting to Iceland and then meeting Hulda (our Icelandic host) and Jessica from Growing Inch by Inch (from USA).
We walked around Reykavik and had dinner together talking about everything and a whole load of ECE - finding out similarities and differences in Sweden, Iceland and USA - really fascinating. There seem to be many similarities between Iceland and Sweden, so I am very much looking forward to visiting the settings and seeing similarities and differences in the practical life of preschool.
One of the things that I really like is that preschool is called play-school here - when I talked with my preschoolers on Friday, letting them know where I was going and when I would be coming back I also told them that in Iceland it was called play-school… they ALL thought they they should go to play school rather than preschool and that we should change the name förskolan Filosofiska to lekskolan Filosofiska… although one child then suggested that we should call it Hello Kitty.
Here in Iceland, as in Sweden, it is apparent that early years teachers are not valued in the same way as school teachers - of course it is hard to change the minds of people who have never valued young children … and when looking at this from a norm-critical point of view it really does reflect how young children and their learning through play are discriminated against as not something as important as slightly older children in school. Does age have status… and at what age do we stop giving status again… as it is quite clear that not all people are valued once they have retired from work - there are many stories about homes for the elderly where they are not treated as humanly as they ought to be…
Today I have met up with the rest of the group… and we are 29 all together. We started our adventure at the Blue Lagoon… remarkably not only a great place to relax, but also a great place to talk and get to know each other… that is if you stay close enough… as the misty magical nature of the pool means you soon lose the others.. but my skin is feeling wonderfully soft now!!
This evening we have met up again to have a look around Rejkjavik and to talk some more… we also took the time to chat in our smaller groups that we have been arranged into so that we can visit settings over the next two days… My group is called "Galdur" and I will be visiting Stekkjaras Playschool and A∂althing Playschool (my computer will not let me do the other soft "th" sounding letter.. on the hard "th" sounding letter ∂) together with Jessica, Annette and Inna.
Time though to get some sleep before our first big visiting day tomorrow