When I stayed in Oxford I had very high expectations in Oxford, as well as fears because I knew my English wasn’t very good, but I thought it would be good enough.
I was supposed to be with a class of 10 kindergarten and primary school teachers from different countries.When I arrived at school, they informed me that they were waiting for two colleagues from France to start the session.However, due to Covid-19 they did not show up, so for a week, in the morning I took English classes and in the afternoon we discussed how pre-school education is organized in Portugal and the United Kingdom.
If the morning sessions were challenging, the afternoon sessions were very fruitful.
Helen Couling, the afternoon teacher, introduced me to some learning approaches new to me in the context of outdoor and woodland education, in particular the Forest School. The Forest School approach demands that the outside space is not seen as merely a place where children go to burn off energy. Forest Schools seek to encourage, motivate, engage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences. We talked a lot about the importance of play in child development and tried to identify how we can encourage play in our settings. Sadly, we couldn’t visit any school as expected, because they didn’t allow any visitors, due to Covid-19. I thought that I could use some of the information received and implement more outdoor play in my school, and I did it, when we start over kindergarten on June1st. From March 16th to 20th all public places were closing, so I could only walk around and see the buildings from the outside.