How would you measure success in the early years of a child’s education? In the Bukkespranget Norwegian kindergarten (where children aged 1-6 play outdoors in all weathers) they ask two simple questions. Does the child ask for more and do the parents tell stories?
Note – no tests.
All this play contrasts with Scotland’s formal school-based education for 5 year-olds – even though academic research shows children learn sharing, communication, cooperation, creativity and confidence long before they can sit still enough to begin formal education. The urge to stuff the three R’s into 4 and 5 year-old brains may be understandable in a competitive, dog-eat-dog world – but it’s not rational, helpful, productive or kind. Certainly, at seven the ‘force-fed’ kids of Scotland and Britain are ahead in literacy. But by 9, play-based Nordic and European kids are soaring ahead – and they stay there.
So will Scotland follow 88% of the world’s countries and switch to kindergarten not school for kids before 6? The SNP conference 2022 is set to debate such a motion in October 2022. If passed and adopted by the Scottish Government, how would it work? In this 25 minute podcast NH Director Lesley Riddoch chats with Bukkespranget Barnehage owner Turid Boholm about the outdoor kindergarten she visited in the icy, darkness of winter 2018.
If you’d like to see some amazing snapshots of the Norwegian bairns at play, check out this presentation. The Bukkespranget uses images like these not long written reports to let parents see how their children are doing.
Film; Q&A with Turid Boholm
The podcast with Turid was recorded just before a Nordic Horizons meeting in June 2018 – here’s the Q&A session – courtesy of Democracy TV – that teased out big differences in the way Scottish and Norwegian children spend their early formative years. You can watch here or just click below.
If you want to see a short film made by Lesley of kids and kindergarten leaders outdoors near Bødo – click here.
Get in touch to find out more about Nordic Horizons.
Subscribe to NH podcasts via all the usual platforms. A new podcast is posted at the end of each month.