|7 years ago, eating lunch around a fire was a totally new experience to me.|
I have now been a nursery teacher for 15 years, blogging for 4.5 and I have found blogging to be a great way for me to reflect on my practice, challenge my way of thinking and best of all, allows me to be involved in critical self-evaluation.
If I write a post about a certain activity I have done or why I approach thing in a particular way, I have to really think about the how & why of my practice & I am aware that others will be reading it & I try to be as honest as possible so that if someone else wants to try something similar they will be fully aware of any issues that may arise.
|A fire is now a weekly activity in our playground.|
Sometimes it takes an 'outsider' to make me rethink the how and why of practice, whether that be my principal, an inspector, a parent or a colleague from another setting.
And if I found myself only having 'because this has always worked' as my reason for doing something, it does make me rethink the practice & start to reflect on when we began doing this and why - often I find that we might have started doing something because of a particular child or class and then I have to think 'does this current practice reflect the needs of the children in my current class?'
Between 2004 and 2011 I was very fortunate to be involved in 2 British Council's Comenius (now Erasmus +) projects with schools across Europe and this really allowed me to reflect on my practice and constantly challenge myself as to why I was doing things the way I was. After spending 2 days in the kindergarten in Norway I did have to ask myself, why do we stay inside if it is raining? I was lucky enough to work for a week in the same kindergarten in 2008 and at the end of that week I was given a little book of photos to take back to my class.
|Playing in the 'forest' area of the playground in the mud kitchen is now everyday practice.|
The title on the cover was 'Our favourite things to do outside' - it was full of photos of children playing outside in the rain & snow, eating lunch outside, enjoying sitting around camp fires etc. When I took it back my class were amazed by it and they spent ages pouring over the photos and I heard lots of 'ooh' and 'ah' as they looked at the photos. I gained so many ideas from that little book - taking powder paints out in the rain, painting snow, playing with rain & mud etc. The partnership with that kindergarten in Eikefjord had such a profound effect on my practice that 7 years later I watched as 4 children came across this album and began to look through it, instead of hearing 'ooh' and 'ah', I heard 'Oh we do that' or 'They cook bananas too' - it really made me realise just how far my practice had come in 7 years. So here's to self-evaluation and reflection and to where I'll be in 7 years time!!
You can read about my job shadow in Eikefjord here: http://nosuchthingasbadweather.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/settings-around-europe.html