It’s been a while since I have written a blog, but I realised it’s because I needed time to reflect properly on Play Iceland, and work out which aspects I can change and improve in my practice. Since returning from Iceland I have tried to ensure that instead of sorting out children’s disagreements and conflicts, I have taken a step back and allowed children to resolve them with some guidance and encouragement. Icelandic culture is very focused on independent children and giving them freedom in their learning. This is all because the adults around them trust the children to make these decisions. The results have been amazing!!!! Children are not only better at sorting these issues out themselves but they do it in a much more sophisticated way than we adults give them credit for!
By altering this part of my practice children are able to become even more independent as well as develop language skills and co-operation skills. These are all key skills which will ensure children grow to become confident independent and reliable individuals.
Suitable encouragement and praise has been another important factor which I have changed. Praise and encouragement are key to building confidence, however it needs to be done in the right way and children need to know why they are being praised. Now instead of saying “good job!” I say “good job I’m really happy you got your shoes on yourself!” By doing this children are able to understand which aspects of their behaviour are being praised and which ones they can repeat.
Within my setting I have focused on making the room and surrounding areas as homely as possible. This was something I was very excited to take back as it provides a space for children which is comforting and relaxing. I found this cosy atmosphere in both Icelandic nurseries I visited. Soft lighting has been a big feature with fairy lights and jars! Many parents have commented on the lovely new features of our nursery.
I’m sure as I continue to reflect on my time in Iceland I will find more ways in which I can develop. Iceland has been a big part of my journey as an Early Years Practitioner and I’m sure the journey has just begun.