Our focus during placement was to analyse the connection between Vygotsky’s ideas and the Swedish National Curriculum, and to then observe how this was applied in our school. We then had to present our ideas and observations in the form of a presentation with our placement partner(s) and in an individual essay for our final assignment.
Luckily for us, we were clued up on Vygotsky from our first year class, Children As Learners, but the Swedish school curriculum was completely new to us, as was working in a nursery setting. Having this set assignment was extremely beneficial for allowing us to make the links from the educational theories to the curriculum, and then relate this to our own practical experience.
From day one we were able to see aspects of the curriculum being applied in our preschools, in terms of their values, attitudes and beliefs, which were effective in creating a positive ethos. We were also able to make several links with Vygotsky, for example, in the way that environments were created for learning and how activities were stimulated through them. We also recognised how learning took place in social contexts with the children learning through social interactions with a knowledgable other.
There are many aspects of the Swedish curriculum and ideologies that we want to implement when we are back in Scotland. The use of both structured learning and free play outdoors, the value of free play, child centred planning and methodology and the use of interdisciplinary learning to make links across subject areas.
This experience has been so valuable and we are so grateful. We all enjoyed every minute of it and have already planned to go back and visit our preschools before we leave.