Monday, 5 November 2012

Indoor Environment - Solgläntan

I am happy to share a wonderful Swedish blog that I have permission to translate

 into English - if you wish to see all the fantastic photographs -

 please go to the original blog and feast your eyes... the link is at the end 

of this post.

Now for the translation

Solgläntan - with room for creativity and relationships

Last Monday my colleagues and I (those of us who work with 1-3 year olds) 
visited Solgläntans preschool in Kärra, Gothenburg. Solgläntan is a preschool with 
six departments but just five are currently open, another department will start 
in January. The preschool is a classic 70's preschool built in a "L" shape where 
the departments lie one after another like a long connected corridor. 
The spaces are large, open and light as they have built many windows in 
the inner walls to create this effect. Solgläntan has during its development always 
worked closely together with their "own" pedagogista as well as participating 
in the city's pedagogical groups where they have met other teachers to reflect with.

the one year old department
What happens when the fan is switched on and the balloons and tissue paper is released?
   Our wish was to take part in Solgläntans work with the pedagogical 
environment for the youngest children at preschool. Many thoughts and
 questions of great meaning were lifted. We considered a great deal 
the weight of the teacher's focus when meeting the youngest children
 and what are our expectations of these children? What do we think they 
can manage? How do we think about what they think? The importance 
of being close to the children, physically. Carina, who is the pedagogista 
at Solgläntan explained how the teachers that worked with the one year 
olds at Solgläntan had expressed the importance of closeness and the 
importance that it should take the time that it needs. We reflected 
upon the tempo and flow of the setting. In which way did one experience 
the tempo as a hinderance or as a possibility, and in how many ways 
were the children and adult concentrated/focussed on what they were 
doing? To allow exploration to take the time it needed. To trust the 
materials and environment and the children's ability to think and do 

Bubbles with the 3 year olds.

As you see on the photos the children at Solgläntan work a great deal with materials and
 phenomena to inspire exploration. The whole of Kärra area has "Children's meeting with
 nature" as a meta-project to investigate at all its preschools. Maria, who works with the 
three year olds described how their bubble project has been thriving for quite some time. 
Describing the children's discovering new ways and thoughts to explore. She reveals also 
about how documentation has received a new function since the children and herself started
 to reflect more together on the documentation and have then deepened their learning by 
focussing the camera on what the children see. This has influenced the teachers who work 
with four year olds in the construction room to observe what the children see and pay 
attention to. The photographs show details of the buildings and the gaps that can be seen 
between. Exciting. I wonder where it will lead? There is also a project about stones 
(or was it a memory...) where the children had been given the mission to bring back a 
stone from their summer. The preschool had stones from all over Sweden and from other 
countries. All the stones tell their story just like the children who brought them. A tool 
to work not only with stones but also with story telling and the uniqueness of everyone's
 story. I look forward to hearing more about this.

A thought I would like to give to Solgläntans teachers is to consider organizing a 
"piazza"/meeting place where all the departments can meet. How could this be 
organized - and how would it look?

The visit was much appreciated from both sides. We woke many thoughts and
 received the possibility to think together about various approaches.

Many thanks, Linda, for allowing me to share 
your experience from Solgläntan. I warmly recommend everyone 
to take the time to browse Linda's blog - I am sure you will find 
other sources of inspiration there too.

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