Tuesday 14th October 2014
A second day at Queen Maud University College (QMUC) campus today. Something that strikes me is how children are invited and welcomed into this adult setting. Of course it makes sense that people training to become early years teachers need to be around children. Common sense is common in Norway!
We had several lectures today including:
- Lecture on physically active play in Kindergarten
- Lecture on children with special needs in Norwegian day cares
- Lecture on mentoring new teachers - a state funded national development programme.
There was a lot of information much of which I am still processing but key messages included:
- Outdoor play promotes the body, movement and health.
- No environment for play is risk free but as children learn to handle their own bodies and the environment safety increases.
- Nature has challenges for all and presents a multitude of possibilities.
- Teachers should be aware of the more and less active children and seek to involve everyone.
- Children deeply involved in play experience deep learning.
- The "flow experience" is where children become so involved with the moment they become unaware of time passing or events outside of their play.
- How motivation depends on a level of competence both perceived and real, social belonging and autonomy.
- How vitality is catching and how our emotions effect others.
- An official Norwegian report in 2008 states that staff are the most important factor for high quality.
- In a high quality setting staff should show and express gladness/ joy/ pleasure, show engagement, be involved with children, be a facilitator, scaffold children, be a supervisor, be an observer.
- Just as children motivate us then we must motivate the child.
- All children are entitled to a rich stimulating environment and provision regardless of their level of function and social background.
- Resources for special needs are funded by the local municipality once a diagnosis has been assessed. The assessment process was highly criticised and takes up to one year despite the known benefits of early intervention. A story which is all to familiar to Irish services.
- Mentoring services funded by the state to support newly qualified early years teachers as they enter into the profession.
We also visited the barnehage attached to QMUC where the respect for children and a strong social conscience is highly evident. Relationships between child and teachers seem to involve a very high level of trust creating an atmosphere of calm.
Allowing our infants to sleep outside may be a step to far for us in Crawford Childcare even though I was assured that the younger children slept inside during the winter when temperatures fall below minus 10! It's always a good idea to examine our practices however and think about why we do the things we do. Comparison is healthy and we may decide to adjust our practice as a result of this or recognise that our current practice is best for our present service provision. What is right for one service is not necessarily the right model for another. Each service should be individual and adjust its practice for each individual child's needs. It would be a very boring world if we were all the same!
Looking forward to another interesting day!