Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Visit to "Bild och Tanke" peschool...

I spent a morning at Bild och Tanke preschool today, found in the suburbs of Stockholm. Bild och Tanke means Image and Thought.

It was lovely to be back in an environment designed for children. This is a small preschool... and it is with intention that it is small. On my way home my mind raced about the obvious benefits I saw for these children attending a small preschool.. there were less relationships to manage, fewer other children to compete with for adult attention... and no matter what you tell me about wanting children to be independent and competent and all that (I want that too) - I remember so clearly How I wanted adult approval, adult attention... I remember that feeling of being special if I got it... and I know this should not be the case, I know that children should not desire that need for approval... but i think it is there within us all no matter how old we are... as children I/we sought approval of adults... and as adults we seek approval of our bosses... as humans we want to be seen, we want to be heard, we want to be valued... and being one of 25 is much easier than being 1 of 40 or 50 or more... even if the adult ratio is the same... I have got to the point where I need to check out some research into this... so if there is anyone reading this that can recommend some good papers/research to read, please add the recommendation to the comments...

So why do I mention that the children had a benefit?
I was there for only 2.5 hours... but during this time, my first visit ever... the children were all confident in asking who I was, why I was there, how long I would be staying... introducing themselves etc. I also saw how they helped each other, how they said kind things and complemented each other (and me) and also how the apologised for accidents and also accepted happenings as accidents... this I shall go into more detail...

Two children had spent quite some time constructing a series of sandcastles, with a complex story attached of what they were and who lived there and how many rooms there were in each castle.
Some other children came over to look... one of them balanced on the edge of the sandbox and accidently lost balanced and partially destroyed the biggest and so-labelled most beautiful castle. The child with a destructive foot moved quickly to the side.. he looked at the scene of destruction, and looked at the two children who had built it... they had not noticed... the child could have moved on and no-one would know. There was a slight pause... then the child said...
"I was balancing here and my foot slipped here, and the castle fell down like this... I did not mean to, I lost my balance. Sorry"
The children who had built the castle looked at the castle then looked at the apologetic child and one of them answered
"Its OK. We can build more"
The educator close by added..
"Maybe it is now a ruin... many old castles become ruins over time?"
"Yes, yes" many of the children said... as there were quite a few collected at the sandbox now.. at least 6... "it is a ravine"
In Swedish ruin and ravine rhyme. (Roo-een / ravv-een)

The play then carried on... all the children now involved with building, digging holes, filling up holes with water etc, making a few more ruins...

If the children were less secure (and I have seen this) then there would have been not the confidence to own up to this mistake, there would not have been the strength to accept that others make mistakes - many think they do stuff on purpose... and there would not have been the joy of being able to then play together with very little adult interaction...

The whole outdoor area was filled with children in groups busy exploring one thing or another... those children wanting/needing to run had an area they could do this without disturbing the gentle busy-ness going on... in the "pit" (a small mound with a slight dent in the top like a nest) was filled with loose parts that could be used to construct cocoons  - and activity connected to the children's interest in the butterfly cocoons found inside... in the middle were also images of cocoons belonging to other insects... not just butterflies so the children were making and reflecting on what could be inside their cocoon... the educator busy taking down notes...

I think with the preschool being smaller it not only means the children do not have as many relationships to manage... it also means the educators have fewer too... this means each child can be seen and listened to on a deeper level...

Well these are my observations and my reflections - having worked at both small and large preschools and also visited both small and large ones too..
but I am keen to follow this and learn more...
BUT first I am to communicate with Jenin... another skype meeting and then the next in the series about pedagogical documentation... THEN I can start exploring this idea..
Meanwhile enjoy these two images of the garden from Bild och Tanke.





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