Saturday, March 29, 2014

Inspiration from Norway!

What path is this?

Teachers Roo and Ann had an amazing week with a continuing education seminar at UW.  There were 2 professors visiting from the University of Queen Maud in Trondheim Norway.  We had about 30 professors, preschool teachers and students come and visit TOP last week.  We got some great feedback about our program.  People were impressed with our kids and all that they get to experience with TOP.  They loved our circle time and how the kids use the forest as their playground.  It was reassuring to get this good feedback and now we are invited to come to Norway to see their program there!

So you can see what they do in Norway, here is a fun video of preschoolers in an outdoor preschool in Norway.

So, you ask: What did we learn at this seminar?

1. Risk taking is good for children.  It is important that children get the chance to try and sometimes fail at climbing, hiking, running, exploring.  This way they learn how far to push themselves and what their limits are without someone telling them.  They learn intrinsically in a way that is a much deeper learning.

2. In Norway babies are put outside to sleep, even in the extreme cold weather.  They believe that the fresh air is important for their health.  They put them in very warm sleeping bags and put them outside under a covering.(!!)

3. In Norway the preschools have cross country skis to use and sleds play with.  (Too bad we don't have more snow!)

Roo and I ended up inspired to let our kids do lots of exploring and climbing.  Of course we already do this!  But some of the things we are trying that are new:
  • The kids are making their own rules during circle time.  We vote on the new rule to see if we all agree whether it is a good rule or not.  They can also be revisited in the future if we need to. (Just so you know-the kids restated all of the rules we already have and voted they were all good ones.  The only one we changed was letting the kids hike with sticks.  We will revisit this rule if it doesn't work out.)

  • We are letting the kids have more autonomy in their choices and decisions of where they want to explore for the day or what they would like to do.

  • We are letting the children work out their differences more.  We will be intervening less to see if they can figure out what is going on with their friends.  More speaking to each other about what they are unhappy about or how that person made them feel and less coming to us and telling us what happened.  We will help to facilitate the discussions as needed but be stepping in less.

And to you parents: Thank you for letting us have your children each week and letting them have these amazing outdoor experiences with TOP

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