Thursday, December 4, 2014

Play Iceland 2014: Simplicity

This is my second post following my adventure to Play Iceland 2014. My first post can be found here.

Two of the days in Iceland were spent visiting "playschools." The schools were much different than most that we have in the US. The buildings I visited looked similar to a miniature elementary school. They had about eight classrooms with children ages two to six years old. Both schools that I visited were incorporating inspiration from Reggio Emilia schools of Italy.

The major thing that I noticed right away was the simplicity of  the materials in the classroom. Actually what I noticed was the lack of things. The classrooms seemed bare.

Later when I had a chance to reflect on my photos, I realized that the "things" that really caught my eye were mostly re-purposed and simple. 

Almost every room had some sort of beautiful chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Some were made from natural materials and others were created from "Beautiful Stuff."

Leikskólinn Aðalþing 

This playschool had a lot of building materials that were made from recycled stuff. The room that stands out in my mind the most had lots of boxes and tubes for the children to build with. The young group that was playing in this room was enjoying building towers (taller than themselves) and knocking them down. There were photos on the shelves to help the children organize the materials back into their places.

Leikskólinn Stekkjarás 

This playschool had a room that was based on the idea of Reggio Emilia's Remida. A whole room full of organized collections of things to create from and learn with. This was a room that teachers could use for gathering resources, but also children could visit to collect things they need for artwork and projects. There were bicycle wheels, fabric, jars, cardboard, wood, broken electronics, and so much more. I would like to have been left alone in that room for hours.

Remida Inspired Room

Lesley from Takoma Park was part of Play Iceland 2013 and wrote about her experience with materials. Materials #playiceland

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