Snow story: Espe Børnehave (2021)
FINAL EVALUATION IN ESPE ON 13. DECEMBER 2021.
(The meeting was attended by educators and the manager from the Kindergarten. The music school teachers were unable to attend. I was on skype and focused on noting the teachers' stories/reflections on the process).
EXCERPT FROM SNIP:
We have long had a focus on education, play and communities and in October we got a boy with hearing aids and therefore got some sound dampening plates around our kindergarten. We also had some great talks about everyday sounds with several very smart people [and about] the difference between noise and loud sounds - and about sound in play. When there are many children and adults in a small space, what is play for some can easily become noise for others. So now we are curious about how we can support the play communities and perhaps find a way to support play sounds so that it might become less noise and more something else.
How can we support the sensory narrative and movement of concrete play? Could we somehow support the play so that there is more space for everyone?
At the P-meeting, we discussed what constitutes a good assembly and what we can do to develop our assemblies. Together with the Music School, we hope to create a new sound culture in our kindergarten, which may provide even better space for contemplation, community and play.
ABOUT THE SNIP STORY
SNIPPEN is about sound in different ways. It is still a key area according to the educators, as it is a house plagued by sound. You can always hear everything. Also between the rooms. Sound means a lot. In LegeKunst, attention has been paid to whether you can do something in new ways so that you are not plagued by sounds. Can we work with sound so that sound becomes something other than noise? Although everyone feels that working with sound is relevant, it has been a challenge that Line (manager) had to create the SNIP story. It has not necessarily been the most sensible thing to do. For the next round of LegeKunst, it makes sense to make the SNIP together with the staff. From the beginning, there has been a lack of preparation and ownership from the educators. What exactly is this PlayArt? It was a bit over the heads of the educators, and therefore there may have been some resistance. If the educators are involved next time, it will have a direction that the educators themselves help to set. The educators are also considering whether there should be an overall SNIP and two 'sub'-SNIPs that are adapted to each group of children.
HOW HAVE WE WORKED WITH SOUND?
Both rooms have been working with sounds and have become aware of SOUND. For example, they have started thinking about what they can do if some games are noisy. Can the game be moved - or moved outside? It can easily become too much if everyone has to be inside. They have been thinking about different instruments, trying to hit things with sticks, investigating what can make sounds. It quickly became clear that inside it was too loud, they couldn't be in it. There were children who put their hands over their ears, it became noisy and it was too loud.
In the first experiments with sounds, the idea was for the children to find sounds in different rooms. Here, the educators tell us that as soon as you move rooms, the children consider what they were doing to be finished. They can't wait to find a sound themselves and wait for the other children to find a sound. This activity was too difficult and probably more on a school level. It was adjusted afterwards.
WHAT IS PLAYFULNESS?
The experiences with PlayArt are slightly different in the two rooms, but the educators agree that PlayArt is MANY things. In both rooms, there have been discussions about what the LegeKunst concept is. They have both been around a lot. They have drawn, sung songs, read stories. It's great to find out that some people like it. But there's still the question of what LegeKunst can and should do.
Especially in one room in particular, people are generally a little confused about what's really going on with PlayArt. And there is a feeling that when you have to evaluate, it can easily reach too high a level. As one educator puts it, it can seem as if there are people with an academic education who want to do a project, but who are far away from being an educator 'on the floor' with the children.
The children in Espe are age-integrated, so there are children aged 3-5 years in each room. This has been a challenge, which means that it's easy to miss the mark in the project. Some children drop out very quickly and it's difficult to target an integrated group of children aged 3-5 years. Therefore, there may be a need to divide the children into age-appropriate groups, but then the entire group of children will not be able to participate in PlayArt. And what do you do then?
GETTING CHILDREN TO 'JOIN IN' WITH THE ART OF PLAY
One room in particular finds it difficult to keep the children's concentration, and some children drop out after five minutes. Some children are hard to hit, and if one of them drops out, it all goes out the window
very quickly. Instead, the educators become shepherds who have to keep it all together. In one room, there are a relatively large number of children with different things and 'hurts in life'. The question here is whether to leave them alone, let them sit on their own or follow them. The problem is that they attract others. It might be OK if they sit on their own, but suddenly half of them are not there. It's very annoying for those who aren't there. And it's very annoying for those who really want to learn. There are certain children who get a lot of attention. It might take them three or four times before they figure out how to participate.
The educators describe how this challenge is the fundamental question in what they do. How do we get the children into the community? It can be extremely difficult to see during the activity itself how to get him or her involved. Every time we go to pick someone up, an adult leaves.
At the same time, there is an awareness that the goal is not to hold the children captive for five quarters of an hour, as this is not possible. According to the educators, it is also about accepting that there are different needs in the group of children. Some sit on the periphery, but are still involved. It is also important to keep an eye out for the children who are not immediately present.
COLLABORATION WITH THE MUSIC SCHOOL
The teachers find that both Annette and Cecilie capture the children very well. But in one room in particular, the teachers themselves feel that they are not so good at music - and have no interest in music. It can be difficult. And even though SNIPPEN is about SOUND, it is also music when it is taught by teachers from the music school. Therefore, it would be good if you can focus even more on SOUND than music. When the teachers themselves feel that they are not good at music, it becomes a bit of a cheat when they have to pass it on to the children. It's hard to take over from the music school teachers when you're not interested in it yourself and don't feel you're good at working with it. Then it easily becomes a feeling that we do it because we have to. That said, the educators have also felt that it has been OK, and they have received some good input. For example, in relation to creating structure.
One possibility in the organization of LegeKunst could therefore be to send out different art and cultural actors. It's clear that you automatically start thinking about music, because two music teachers are sent out. You could, for example, imagine a course where you had visits from different art forms twice per art form. This would mean that you don't just think in terms of music - but more in terms of methods. In other words, you think more about the approaches and tools you can use from the different art forms. By having different actors inside, they force the children to pay attention. New suitcase, new topic. At some point, it might not catch their attention so much anymore: after three weeks, they've seen the 'box'. Across the board, you can think about not having a finished product. But that it should be more open.
Several of the educators mention that there is a challenge in that the 'entertainment level' has to be different every time, so that the whole thing doesn't go a bit off the rails. It's easier when you come from the outside and are new and exciting. Than when you as an educator have to do it yourself. For example, the LegeKunst people bring their suitcase. What the artists bring with them captures the children faster than what they've seen many times before. The educators are also not used to having five quarters of an hour where there is free play in terms of what we can do. However, some children can engage. For example, some are really happy to stand and take the initiative. Most children get it and most have participated and have not caused trouble. But according to one educator, there is a general challenge that children expect to be entertained - otherwise they quickly drop out. It's also a culture that needs to change among the children: "I'm going to sit here and be entertained". You see it in many other places - even among adults. At gymnastics shows, you used to sit all day and watch all the teams. Now you see your own child and then you leave.
PLAYFULNESS - CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE SPRING 2022 PROGRAM
There is an ongoing discussion about how to structure LegeKunst and follow the process that has been set in motion while following the children's tracks. The five-quarter time frame alone is challenging. The children are exhausted and 'cooked to the bone' with activities after five quarters of an hour. The fact that the process is framed with five quarters of an hour can be an unnecessary constraint. The five quarters of an hour is so binding that it becomes difficult to follow the children's tracks. The children's tracks can be forgotten in the practical things they want to do during the course. The music school's teachers are good at capturing a song, a story or the like, so you could do even more of that.
The educators talk about how you could, for example, structure three quarters of an hour with activities and then say, "What happens if we play the whistle here?" and in this way shorten the process. Three quarters of an hour or an hour would be best. Sometimes it can feel like there is no time to investigate things because there is so much on the program. One teacher finds that teachers themselves can be quick to say 'we're done now'. When the educators gather things together, there is no time or opportunity to follow the children's tracks. One educator experiences that you can follow a game a little. But no more than for two minutes, and then the adults 'automatically' start collecting. It can be important to be aware that as an educator you don't think, 'we don't follow the children's tracks, because we can't do that. We have to do this and this and this....'
Some initiatives in PlayArt 2022 can also be about investigating whether the children benefit from being mixed across groups as part of PlayArt. For example, if one group wants to play with wild dinosaurs, they can do so. If another group wants to sing or try something else, they can do that. It's also worth considering whether it would work better in age-segregated groups. For example, a school group and a 'toddler group'. Perhaps the groups can also be divided on the day itself, depending on the shape of the day and differences in how long the children can concentrate. If it's split up in time, some will be able to get even more out of it. It will also mean that everyone gets a good experience instead of a bad one where there is also a bit of scolding. It might also give the feeling of space to find and follow the children's tracks afterwards - so the adults don't pack it all away all the time. There is also an awareness that the adults don't get bored and drop out.
The educators talk about being aware that it does not have to be 'so much' that is initiated. For example, it can be a short course, a fun little thing, a small concert, a magician.
It is also a lot to bring 20 children to PlayArt, as it causes a lot of turmoil. There is no room to unfold and it is difficult to be present. It's also easy to follow the same children because they are the ones who dare to speak up. It is important to pay attention to getting the children involved.
It has worked well that the process has been up and down in pace - also in terms of noise. Both Cecilie and Anette have been good at getting up and down. This is also something that the educators themselves can take to heart. The fact that the children experience that their 'arousal' level goes up and down, and that the children become aware of it. There is still noise and loud sounds. There is loud talking. Several educators experience that everyone (including adults) talks very loudly - with and without PlayArt. It would be good to work more with getting up and down. The educators want to learn more about how they can use it and work with it themselves. There is an awareness that sometimes it is wild and sometimes it is not so wild. It can also be important to articulate that the process should not be music-music. For example, it can also be Old Games or similar, which the educators themselves can feel at home with.
One educator talks about the desire to go into the play and use PlayArt and the sound and techniques even more. Educators can control the play quite strongly. For example, when a child says "This is a big and dangerous elephant". And the adult can say: "no, it's not in my play". Then the children have to come to terms with the fact that it's a baby elephant that doesn't talk very loudly. An educator says that they have to use this 'power' when playing with the children.
The educators also talk about a continued focus on speaking quietly and not shouting. But to approach the child instead of shouting at him. One educator says that they themselves also contribute to creating a culture where the sound level is high and where they themselves are loud. The educators can also lower their voices. It is clear that Cecilie, for example, speaks in a low voice - and so do the children. On the other hand, it is very contagious when someone is screaming.