Sunday, 30 November 2014

Images from my Icelandic presentation

 Sadly technology failed somewhat when it came to the presentation at the Rejkjaviks city hall - as the projector was so old it was not compatable with new computers (which we all had) and not with high resolution images - which my presentation is full of... I try not to use words, but images, a bit like a picture book.

Not all of the images can be used on my blog without starting to alter them... and as I have another presentation tomorrow I feel like I do not have the time (or inclination, to be honest) to start adapting all the images for my blog... When you get to see my images in real life then most of the blurring is gone... they are the real images... so here come some images connected to the presentation

It starts off with where I work at Filosofiska, exlplaining about it being totally none profit and our collaborations with Nepal to help street children get an education and a collaboration with thr Freedom Theatre in Jenin...

I talked about Filosofiska's vision - reflecting, judicious, empathic, capable and knowledge-thirsty children.

I mentione Alise Shafer Ivey... and that children have unfettered minds and therefore able to think differently from us as adults... you can see the talk here (I link it up every once in a while to my facebook page) - TEDtalk





 I talked about the journey of how best to sit to enable listening - rather than focussing on how their bodies are sitting.

 Talking rings - enabling the children to think about the structure of a dialogue... that it is not a series of monologues but listening and talking... an interaction... and that listening is not just being quiet but an active verb.


I shared various photos of the "non-verbal" children passing a box around the circle... give and take being essential components of listening and talking...

 The image I shared at the presentation about children playing philosophy could not be shared... but I can share this one instead



 I talked about how art connected with philosophy of how we used creative activities to support listening skills and self regulation as well as exploring ideas
you can read about the rainbow art ... here
Jackson Pollock inspired art ... here
the big light installation... here and here



I ended up not talking about this image so much as it was so dark... but it is about how the children work together... like philosophy - collaboration and solving problems together is important.


 Various play and activities designed to help with self-regulation... you can check out the bubble post to find out more about this too... you can read that post here
painting on the floor ... here


it is important to approach children with new eyes and new ears to hear what they are saying as if for the first time... so that you are open for new perspectives and not closed off. Experience is important for supporting and expanding ideas... but never to limit them...


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Storytelling... Inspiration from PlayIceland2014

What great fortune to talk with Georgina Elsom and to watch her storytelling... well it should not have been watch, it should have been interact with... but a room full of adults are, for some reason, never as interactive as children... is this because we have lost our playful spirit, because we are not as in touch with our imagination, or is it because adults become more self-conscious to the point that it inhibits them from participating (or maybe all of the above)...

The story is not set... the story evolves with the audience adding to it, participating in it, Georgina linking ideas and imaginations together...

I have a short film from the PlayIceland2014 conference that illustrates this...



 You see on the film how Georgina takes advantage of what is happening in the room... noises in the background do not become distractions but are woven into the story fabric. The ideas from the audience are intregal parts of the story making it impossible to know exactly where the story will go - the story becomes a journey that is taken together.
I took the film to remind myself how I can too encompass this interactive story style with my preschoolers at Filosofiska... it almost feels like a natural step from the storycards where we have been creating stories together. For me this together feeling... this collaboration is so essential... in philosophy it is a collabortaion of ideas and thoughts, in this kind of storytelling it is a collaboration of imaginations... and I can imagine it would be very easy to have a meta-dialogue with the children about the story afterwards... what happened, why did that happen etc etc

Story telling is an art that has mental, social and educational benefits on children, so it is well worth taking the time to get creative with the children. Storytelling is an activity that can transfer emotions and feelings and also can boost thinking capacity... and I think this is why I felt so inspired by Georgina... I felt the connection to our philosophical work and that I could start to aplly this story-telling technique into a kind of philosophy session - a chance to explore ideas through the medium of storytelling and imagination...
In the story-telling by George, she asked regularly for reminders about what had happened in the story previously so that the story could keep in moving forward ... this encourages the children to listen actively as well as helping them work on their memory - developing their memory capacity is an important tool in learning...

So much can be explored through storytelling - emotions, culture, norms, kowledge etc etc - and by having interactive, hands-on story telling means we can extend the stories to those who find just listening hard... as their learning language involves more of their bodies than just their ears...


The following day as we were visiting a preschool Georgina showed us howeasy it is to breathe life into stuffed animals... by the time I got my camera in action I had missed the whole walking across the room (although I got to see it) but did manage to catch how small small movements can enable the children to believe in the story-telling powers of the animals and puppets - so I really encourage you to take the time to "mess about" with soft toys and puppets... privately and with the children to develop storytelling skills. The film below shows the breathing... and also shows how important it is to test, experiment and explore the life within the toys available to you.

video


If you ever get the chance to meet Georgina I highly recommend that you take that opportunity. You will not regret it...

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

an Icelandic update

I have now visited two preschools in the last two days… had a million dialogues about early years, play and possibilities on many different levels … from the fun and light hearted to the deep and intense… and I have loved and learned from every one of them.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Iceland… and there will be one more preschool visit (well two, but the preschools are connected) and also the opportunity to see the Icelandic landscape… which I am loving - but I have always loved mountains… and I love clouds… and the skyline here is forever changing with the most amazing cloud formations all the time… and yes I have been needing out with cloud photos too!! (and no doubt there will be more tomorrow)

BUT I am not getting the time to blog, because I am not getting to my room until after midnight… which means I am spending my time much more wisely is discussion with others… and I have SOOO much to share and it is just getting more and more…

OH yeah, and the delights of an antiquated projector meant that my high resolution photos on my new laptop were just too over whelming… and everything came out as dark shadows or just black… so I will be posting the photos sometime soon… may be the perfect thing to fix while waiting for my flight on Thursday morning…

Here are some cloud photos



Sunday, 23 November 2014

Iceland Day 1 and 2

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



Friday, 21 November 2014

The night before Iceland...

I am sitting at the computer here in Stockholm for the last time for a few days... tomorrow I will be winging my way to Iceland to meet other educators from UK, USA and Iceland to talk about play and learning in early childhood and to visit settings.
I am really looking forward to the opportunity to have my mind stretched and challenged, to have the opportunity to view play from another perspective and to be a part of a process where I can contribute to others experiencing the same sort of inspirational growth that I am sure I will experience.


I will be taking lots of photographs and, of course, sharing, most likely when I get back... as I imagine I will be spending as much of my time as possible with the other Play Iceland participants... all arranged by Fafu..

It is going to be wonderful to be able to meet up with the Fafunians that have been a part of the International Fairy Tea Party with me...

In fact I am too excited to even write...



Thursday, 20 November 2014

World Philosophy Day

Today, the third Thursday in November, has been World Philosophy Day - and with it being 20th November is has also been Universal Children's Day - a day to highlight that November 20, 1989: The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Negotiated by adult citizens around the globe, the UNCRC guarantees children civil and political as well as economic, social, and cultural rights.

We have celebrated at Filosofiska...

Yesterday we decided with the children to have a slightly mad day... to not do things like we usually do... to challenge the everyday norms - like clothes and how we eat... So we came to preschool a little different... for instance I wore a nappy/diaper on my head, which of course made the children laugh A LOT.

In the morning we had a philosophical dialogue about children's rights... the children were given the opportunity to tell us what they thought children's rights should be... and we explored many of these ideas... here are the rights listed (and not wrapped up in the full philosophical dialogue where these rights were talked about TOGETHER)

here is the translation....
Children have the right
to get air
to go out and breath and to go in again
to play
to if you don't have a mummy and daddy, like Pippi Longstocking, then you get to do what you want
to eat healthy stuff sometimes/to eat well
to laugh
to be sad
to have fun
to go to preschool
to rest
to listen to each other/to be listened to
to run
to be kind to each other, even to people you don't know/to have kind people around you
to look at fishes
to dress up as a princess, castle, skeleton or spiderweb
all children have the right to be a girl (discussion about the right to be who you are)
to sledge, ski and snowscooter
to have food
to drink

We then talked to the children about the importance of children's rights for children who are forced to work, who have nowhere to live, who are abused, who don't go to school, who have no name, who don't get to play... we also taled about our sister school in Nepal where we help children who live on the street to get an education, a roof over their head, food in their tummies, any medicine they need and the chance to play and learn. One of the children suggested that we should draw pictures for the children in Nepal - all the children thought this was a good idea and it was decided that they should draw their favourite things... the above photo with the rights written on it, is a picture, by the child who had the idea in the first place - her favourite thing being Elsa from the film Frozen.

We went outside to collect questions from passers-by to put in our question box. Questions that we will think about and wonder about together in our philosophy sessions and then post our ideas in the window for passer's by to read...


 Here are the questions we collected... they include... How can we end all the war? Why is it raining today? I wonder how it will all be for all the children in the future? Why is there money? What is anger? Where does rain come from? Why do children go to preschool? What planet do you live on? When will we respect all the worlds inhabitants? When is it Christmas?

We had talked about those people in the area that begged for money, and how that some of them had children in their home countries that did not have enough food, so that is why they have come to Sweden. The children approached to ask for questions... but there was not enough Swedish on her side or Rumanian on our side to be able to communicate very much... and as the children had no money we deceided to share some of our lunch... hot thick vegetable soup and bread to warm her up. This was received with happiness and thanks, and the children gained the opportunity to learn about generosity and sharing.


We ate our food a little more crazy than usual... our morning snack we ate whilst sitting on the table with our feet on chairs... while for lunch we did not use chairs at all, carrots and pasta was served directly on the well cleaned tables and water was served on plates with straws, the soup we drank from mugs... it was a very positive lunch indeed... and the children either ate with their hands or bent down and ate with their mouth directly from the table... it was fun to try new ways of eating... it was also hard work NOT to put your food on the plate...

There was SO MUCH laughter... can carrots be dangerous if they start woofing? What does the water that the carrots were in taste like... can we drink hummus through a straw... we laughed and laughed until our cheeks and bellies ached.


I am beginning to think the children might just want it to be World Philosophy Day every day... I wonder how they will all reflect upon this tomorrow?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Storycards revisited

Its now been about 2 months since I created the storycards for my work... and it has been interesting to watch how they have been used...

I have lined them up and told stories based on them... by either careful selection beforehand, or completely randomly with the children... I have seen them do the same thing.

I have also seen the children in much the same way they would use small dolls and figures... a kind of small world play with the storycards... telling/playing elaborate stories in small groups...

The cards have been taken into the atelier as inspiration for the children's drawings.

They have also been used for specific storytelling practice..


With the prompt phrases...
There was once....
Every day...
But one day...
Suddenly...
and then...
Since that day...

The storycard has been the inspiration to the story - the card is photocopied with the text that is written down as the children tell the story... the teacher using the key phrases to prompt the story further...

This technique has not yet been used by my group, but I have observed the 3 year old group doing this.

The story cards have been added to... as the 3 year old group have been exploring ghosts I added ghost cards and haunted house cards to the collection... fat ghosts, scary ghosts, happy ghosts, sad ghosts... again the idea is to not just give one view point of what a ghost is, or how it behaves..

Molnet is now going into an exploration of fear (a natural development) - so I feel I will be adding more images soon... but luckily they have fallen into the idea of Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wold... and various images are already represented - including kind wolves, happy wolves, small wolves and big bad pigs....

The idea is that the storycards can be added to all the time to fit in with the projects the children are working on and exporing... and then the children have the power to combine the old images with the new images.. to mix the stories together... to combine their previous knowledge with that they are learning now...

AND most importantly I strive to create cards that represent all of society and not just the norms...


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Portraits continued...

This week the children chose the portrait that they preferred and put it on the overhead... its interesting to see how they choose, and it was not as I expected for both of them based on my observations of their process last week, but it was not an easy choice to make for that child either... she took her time in the selection process and changed her mind several times...

The children worked together to draw in pencil around the outlines... I encouraged them to check on the orginal on the overhead to see if they had indeed drawn the same image. They were amazed at how big the portraits had become.

Once both portraits were drawn in pencil they started to colour in the outlines with black paint...
There did not seem to be any system of top to bottom or left to right, or eyes then nose etc... it was totally random... a bit of hair, half an eye, an ear then some more hair... etc etc

When the portraits were finished we stood and looked at them for a while, but only a while, they were keen to use colour... so they got to use the bright acrylics on the plastic portrait. I turned the portrait over so that they could paint on the reverse and experiment with colours, pointing out how the lins would not disappear on the other side...

One of the girls was interested in painting layers - even though I pointed out that these layers would not be so noticeable on the other side... we looked a few times, so she could see, but painting the details, layer upon layer, was important to her and she continued, and she could feel the satisfaction of her art process.

checking how the image was the same on the OH as it was on the wall... even though it was a different size
 The various processes of the morning. This was an activity that the children enjoyed immensly were able to sustain a long period of concentration.

The rest of the group came in from their outdoor play and closely inspected the two new faces on the wall...

Monday, 10 November 2014

More portraits...

Last week we did portraits by using plastic over a photograph of the child.
I simply laminated an empty pocket to create the plastic (I tried one normal and one with a non-shine finish - the normal one was better for seeing the details, but only marginally).

The idea was wto get the children observing details about themselves, about pen grip practice and pen control as well as encouraging them to draw what they see rather than "what is a standard face"... which they tended to slip into by accident anyway... adding sharp teeth to a closed mouth, an extra plait, when it could not be seen from that angle (but she knew it was there) and masses of super long eyelashes...

I find it interesting to see how children get quickly used to drawing a face... standar round head, to eyes, nose and mouth... without really reflecting upon how real noses look etc... they draw symbols.
This project of self-portraits is to take a closer look at not just themselves but also how things really look and how that can be translated onto paper...

We drew twice... one of the children learned from her first drawing that she needed to concentrate more on what she could see rather than what she knew about herself... and that would help her keep to the outlines of her photo portrait... her second attempt really reflected this, and we talked about how she was pleased with the ear, because this time it looked like an ear, and how her hair looked more hairlike this time...
The other child did not focus the same on the second photo as much, had a much more blasé approach and when she lifted up her drawing she could also see that.

We looked at the two portraits and we talked about their processes.
Then we had fun pretending to be each other by putting the plastic image up in front of our own faces... lots of laughter...

I took a photocopy of the first ones... although for the moment I am not entirely sure why... but I felt it was a good idea... (putting white paper behind them as I copied them to make sure they copied clearly)

This week I plan to put them on the overhead so that they can copy larger versions of themselves on paper on the wall...
The it will be time to start using colour...

 this is the photo I fixed for the preschool's facebook page...

Here is an extra image as we discuss the process, the similarities and the differences between the self portraits.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

an accessible education

Its taken some time between my last post and this... maybe not really a long time... but for me, who posts often, it has been unusual to go so many days without a post...

But sometimes real life gets so big and up close that you have to take the time to deal with it... to take the time to get to grips with the emotions you have about the events that unfold... and then comes the time to start to reflect...




I am not quite sure if I am really at the place to reflect yet... my emotions are still running high...

But if this can help, then I am going to share...

My son got sent home from school... because he blew 10 raspberries in class and did not stop when asked (my son has no memory of being asked to stop... and despite us telling teachers he needs clear and visual support with these kinds of instructions, he is obviously still not getting them... and despite telling the teachers that repeatedly telling him the same thing over and over will not get the result wished, and in fact will get the opposite result and a child that feels he is being unfairly treated and sad and angry - teachers STILL seem to think that he will respond to this kind of interaction)... of course my son was angry for being sent out... he kicked the door several times when he was outside the classroom to share his anger.... to share that he was NOT getting the support that he needed in this situation...
He got sent home... yes the school ringed first... to my husband, just returned from a nightshift... yes Michael could get into our home (he has no key) BUT he would not have a parent that could be awake to take care of him... my husband had just worked a 24 hr shift... the school sent him home to THAT.

My colleagues were amazing and I swapped with a colleague my time, so I could go home earlier and my preschoolers would still have the right amount of teachers... which was just as well as I did... by the time I had got home he had run away from home, and then returned (realising that jackets are useful when outside in winter). I returned to a boy that was crying with sadness and anger, with confusion and a lack of understanding of what had just happened.

My son has been discriminated against for his diagnosis ADHD/autism - the school has a plan for equal treatment and anti-discrimination... and in that plan there is an actual example that sending home a child with ADHD because they cannot sit still (or keep quiet) is discrimination...

It is clear that my child is not getting the support he needs if the teachers cannot cope with him being there. If they need to send him home then he is not getting an education... and since home-schooling is illegal here it is time they made schools accessible for all children and all learning styles...

Why should my son be punished for something the school has failed to do?
We have asked them time and time again for more support... we told them that he would need more support with this new system... they implemented a new system despite the school's special needs teacher saying that this kind of system is not beneficial for children like my son (my son is not one of a kind in this school) - yet the school did not think to support these children, but just expected them to behave like everyone else... and when they fail to, they get punished... why should my son be punished for the school's failure?

This is not a problem that is confined to my son's school (where his two elder sisters thrive) - I know there are others with the same problems in other schools in Stockholm, in Sweden and in other places around the world...

What is being done to make education accessible for all abilities... there are so many articles, research, TEDtalks etc etc about needing a school revolution... but are we actually getting any closer to that? And what do we need to do to make that happen? A real change to make schools a better place for learning... not the filling up on facts... but real learning... learning how to learn, learning with joy and enthusiasm, learning with creativity and integrity, learning to find connections, to solve problems, learning about understanding differences and learning about collaboration...
How can we harnness everyone's positve learning skills in a school environment?


Here are some TEDtalks worth watching...


ADHD As a Difference In Cognition, Not A Disorder: Stephen Tonti at TEDxCMU

 Ken Robinson - How School kills Creativity

 a Link to several TED talk to "RE-imagine school"

 also check out these of inspiring teachers.. 

 In the meantime... I am busy with my fight for my son's right to an accessible education for him... and in the process ensure that other children will too.

Monday, 3 November 2014

All in a post...

So to celebrate my 500th post... I will write about my writing process...

On my way home from work I go through the photographs of the day... deleting the ones that are blurry, or are of the floor by accident, and quite often I see the story of the day... what we have been learning, what the children have experienced... sometimes what I have learned by the experience - as the children will always be my teachers too...

Usually the photo process takes me half my journey... the second half I sit and reflect... I have made the choice not to be connected to the internet on my phone... so that I am guaranteed reflection time everyday... either over my work or over my life... I have always been a big daydreamer, so I really value this time...

In the mornings I take a free paper which I browse... sometimes reading, but mostly just checking out what is going on... sometimes articles here have got me thinking and they have ended up being a collection of thoughts.

Posts have often been inspired by dialogues with others... with my colleagues at Filosofiska... and also worldwide colleagues in facebook and twitter... as the dialgue has got me into thinking, then it is often quite natural to continue that thinking in a post...

I love getting feedback on my blog and facebook page... because that really does inspire me in my choices of what sort of posts to write... but it always has to be something I feel passionate about... and since I feel quite passionate about most things ECE it is not hard to ignite my fire and get me thinking... and then writing...

me and my camera
I like to challenge thought... not to just to accept everything, but to question it, to pick it apart and to put it back together again... either as it was or as a new possibility... always with the openness to pick it apart and start again...

I also like to read other blogs and ECE articles to challenge my thinking... doing the Exploring Play MOOC (the mentors/professors/teachers are from Sheffield University, UK) has been interesting - and I am in its final weeks now, so I will really miss that extra thinking stimulus in mid November when it is over... (maybe time to look for another MOOC... or maybe time to really sit down and write that book I keep saying I am going to write...)

Without a shadow of a doubt this blog has helped me in my role as a teacher... because it has allowed me to see the children's play and learning and extra time, it has allowed me the time and space to get my thoughts down on paper... and they are my thoughts... I sit down and they just fall out of my head onto the screen (OK via the keyboard!!!)... on occasion I find I need to look for references to back up my thinking.
I also go back to old posts and read them and see the journey the children and I have made together... the bumps in the road, the wonderful free-wheeling down hill, the hard work of mountain climbing, and the gentle meambling together allowing us to see all and reflect...

Sometimes I add reflections, but not always, sometimes I wish I did that more... might be my new year resolution this year... maybe one a week is enough. After all reflection is such an essential part of this work I do with children...

Blogging has also let me play with technology more... playing with picmonkey has been a great as a creative outlet... and has also been great in documentation... but even there I have gone full circle and returned to powerpoint more to keep the presentation of the ideas simple... not to overload the children with too many images and ideas at one time... to respect their need to sort out their thinking too... if I need space and time to think then I must also allow time and space for others... and not fill it for them.
messing about with picmonkey - and yes that is me - or it was before I started messing with the image...

Of course there are many things that I cannot share on this blog - this is a place of collaboration and not of individual needs (although I do share about my son, but I have his permission to do that, as he too wants to be able to help others through his story, as he has been helped by reading and watching the stories of others with ADHD or children on the autism spectrum.). Some stories are too personal and they need my attention not in the blogging worl but in the real world only...
... but sticking with a blog that feel like its a collaboration feels right...
I share how the children learn together, how I learn together with them and my colleagues... I share my experiences when I collaborate with others around the world... something that I value enormously... this allows my perspective to stay wide open, to not start closing in like a tunnel so that I can only see the light at the end... but the whole valley of learning - with the possibility to climb mountains and discover more (and enabling me to see the learning from yet another perspective as I climb... the tunnel does not offer that at all)

me and Michael
I think I am always open to write about most things, I am not afraid to be wrong... but at the same time I prefer not to be... I am nerdy enough to go and research a little (and sometimes more) when I feel I do not know something - so my learning journey is very much on record here... and very often I will state that I am not sure of my thoughts, that I am playing with ideas, needing feedback to work out what it is that I think. Because sometimes you can only be sure of what you think yourself when you get to discover how others think...

sitting at the computer...
So I hope that my writings over the year offer inspiration... not only to try out new things but to try out new thinking... to question your own ideas, to question the traditions and practices so that you better understand them... not a blog that tells you what to do... but a blog that suports you in discovering your own meaningful journey....



and an owl pic... because the owl is so amazing

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Its all in a name

When I met up with a group of amazing teachers that I have chatted with on twitter - but got to meet for the first time in real life on Friday, one of (the many) topics that came up was the name "dagis" and "förskola"... dagis comes from the word daghemmet (dayhome) but in 1998 with the introduction of the curriculum and the switch from social services to the education department the name "förskola" was to be used...

I asked what the word meant... as for me it was the equivelent of preschool "före" (before) skola (school). During the week Ellen and I had been talking about the name FÖRskola and whether the fact that we are addding the prefix "pre" to the word are we also saying that it is less important? It is before school, so it is not school?

At the dinner meeting on Friday I was told that it did not mean före skola but förste skola (first school)...

... and the more I have reflected on this the less I like it. Mostly because I am not entirely happy with how schools treat children's organic learning... there is too little emphasis on play and too much on being filled by the teacher with information and how-to's. BUT, there again, maybe by being called first school the system could get more respect?

I remember from my childhood how I went to playschool before I started school... maybe "lekskola" is not such a bad word... a place of learning through play... but of course this would mean that we would need to continue the discussion of the immense value of play... not only for children but for all people of all ages - that play is not a frivolity but a necessity.

I am far from clear with my thinking about what the name Förskola means - is it preschool or first school? AND more importantly what do the majority of the people think it is... not just these few people that were at this dinner talking about what the word means... (there are many who really do not like the word dagis, as they feel it does not take the work of förskola seriously enough or with the respect it deserves... dagis continues to be VERY widely used)



When you google före skola... you do actually find preschools that have chosen to use that term - föreskola instead of förskola... when you google förste skola or först skola no results for preschool can be found (I went 10 pages into the search... whilst there had been several hits of föreskola on the first page)... so from this point of view it does not make me think that it is generally accepted that förskola means first school... but rather pre school.

The Swedish word is translated to PRE school and not first school, which also indicates that this is the accepted translation/explanation of the word.

Around the world the following words are used...

In Finland it is called daycare
In Norway it is called barnhage - child garden
in Iceland -  leikskóla - playschool

then in the English language there are a great variety of terms being used... Nursery School, preschool, Kindergarten, daycare, pre-kinder, playcenter, Early Learning Center, child development center, Childcare center, childcare, educare center, early childhood center, creche... to name a few... can you add to the list?

How important is it to you what we label the place of play, learning and care before starting school?
Are there names like "dagis" that are somewhat looked down upon because they echo a time where childrens learning through play was not valued/recognised?

So what name do you use? and why?

Spook song meeting

On Friday we sang spooking songs and told spooky stories in the morning... we usually have a songmeeting on Friday mornings where all the children in the whole preschool meet together and sing and enjoy each other's company. Sometimes we use the projector, sometimes we sit in a ring, sometimes we get moving to a action CD for dance and movement...

Today we celebrated halloween...

I started with both sheets of mosquito netting down... and even though this is the most fun and most special effect, it also makes the reading of words quite difficult... and since some of the songs were familiar songs with new spooking words, it was essential the teachers could read to be able to support the children discover these new songs... all new songs were sung at least twice... once for the children to hear, and a second time to sing together...

For a while both sheets of netting were down for the children to interact with the images... I folded one up for when the song meeting started... so we could have the best of both worlds...

I did take photos of how they are attached to the ceiling, but they did not turn out very well... so I will have to take new ones I get back to you...

 It was fun to watch my colleagues... this was something that amazed the adults just as much and they too wanted to play and interact with the light and images...

Quickly though the children took charge of the space - the second sheet of netting was dropped down so that it was more of a sensory exploration. It really did look like the ghost were flying around the room... the ghosts are a part of a ghost story and colours... might just include that as another post, so that others can use it too...

 As you can see with two layers the writing is quite tricky to read, although fairly managable when not in movement... but one layer was enough to create a fascinating and spooky atmosphere when the children were sitting at the song meeting.

I love these kind of activities where children and adults can marvel together. A very clear example of David Hawkin's I Thou It... were the children and teachers are equally fascinated over the experience and the learning that can happen here.